Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Severe psoriasis may trigger heart attack

It is imperative to prevent triggers to avoid the symptoms from becoming worse

New Delhi, 28 August 2017: A study that followed over half a million people for about 5 years has indicated that psoriasis may increase the chances of getting a heart attack. The risk of a heart attack was related to the severity of psoriasis in people. The overactive immune system that triggers psoriasis can cause inflammation which can further infiltrate the arteries of the heart. As per the IMA, patients with one illness may be stricken by another condition which may seem unrelated and sometimes more serious. This is known as a ‘shadow disease’.

Psoriasis is an immune-mediated condition affecting the skin and causes red, flaky, crusty patches of covered with silvery scales. The condition occurs when the immune system mistakes a normal skin cell for a pathogen, and sends out faulty signals that cause overproduction of new skin cells.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, National President Indian Medical Association (IMA) and President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Dr RN Tandon – Honorary Secretary General IMA in a joint statement, said, “Psoriasis is an incurable, long-term (chronic) inflammatory skin condition. The severity of the condition varies --- periodically improving and worsening. At times, the condition may not appear for years and stay in remission. In some people, the symptoms can aggravate in the winter months. The spectrum of this disease ranges from mild with limited involvement of small areas of skin to large, thick plaques to red inflamed skin affecting the entire body surface. There are multiple clinical subtypes of psoriasis. Plaque psoriasis, the most common presentation of psoriasis, most commonly presents with sharply defined erythematous plaques with overlying silvery scale. The scalp, extensor elbows, knees, and back are common locations for plaque psoriasis lesions.”

Psoriatic arthritis occurs in about 30 percent of patients with psoriasis, and precedes the skin manifestations in approximately 15 percent of patients. A diagnosis of psoriasis can be made by history and physical examination in majority of the cases. Occasionally, a skin biopsy is needed to rule out other conditions.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, said, “Numerous topical and systemic therapies are available for the treatment of psoriasis. Treatment modalities are chosen on the basis of disease severity, relevant comorbidities, patient preference (including cost and convenience), efficacy, and evaluation of individual patient response.”

Some tips to prevent psoriasis flare up are as follows.

  • Reduce stress Stress can have a negative impact on people with psoriasis. The body tends to have an inflammatory reaction to stress in turn leading to a flare-up.
  • Avoid certain medications Some medications can interfere with the body’s autoimmune response and cause inflammation, thus triggering psoriasis.
  • Prevent skin injuries Injuries to the skin can trigger psoriasis in some people. This is known as the Koebner phenomenon.
  • Eat a healthy diet Being obese or overweight appears to make psoriasis symptoms worse. Thus, it’s important to manage your weight by exercising and eating a healthful diet.

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