Those with psoriasis should consult with their family doctor or cardiologist to find out more about reducing their risk of a heart attack. Physicians may recommend tests to get a clearer picture of what's going on inside the body and help patients create the best action plan to combat heart disease. Doctors will advise a combination of a nutritious diet and regular exercise to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Seeking the help of health professionals can also help people manage stress as well as deal with any addictions, such as dependency on alcohol or tobacco.
Making good lifestyle choices to promote heart health also helps manage psoriasis. From the previous section, recall that smoking cigarettes, experiencing stress and becoming overweight can ignite the onset of psoriasis. Eliminating these risks can minimize flare-ups and even keep psoriasis in remission [source: American Academy of Dermatology].
You can also control psoriasis through medication. Various drugs are available to treat this condition, including pills and capsules and an injection that your doctor administers about every three months. Methotrexate, a drug that doctors commonly prescribe for psoriasis, is currently being evaluated for its ability to control heart disease. Methotrexate can minimize the incidence of vascular disease in some cases; in fact, experts say that taking folic acid with methotrexate lowers a person's risk for vascular disease by 50 percent [source: Collins].
There's additional research into whether cholesterol treatments can help treat psoriasis. One study found that statins -- drugs that reduce cholesterol levels in the blood -- may alleviate psoriasis [source Laino]. One of the things that statins do is reduce inflammation. This category of drugs is credited with lowering the risk of diabetes, multiple sclerosis, cancer and some forms of arthritis.
Although opinions vary on how the conditions are related, experts agree that sensible lifestyle choices greatly reduce chances of a heart attack and systemic diseases like psoriasis.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Collins, Cliff. "Psoriasis raises heart attack risk." Psoriasis Advance. Winter 2010. (May 5, 2010).http://psoriasis.org/NetCommunity/Page.aspx?pid=1463
- Enerson, Jean. "Doctors discover 'shadow diseases" linked to primary illness." KING5. May 7, 2010. (May 10, 2010). http://www.king5.com/health/Doctors-discover-shadow-diseases-93122199.html#
- Hughes, Sue. "Psoriasis firmly established as risk factor for CV disease." Heartwire. Prevention.March 14, 2010. (May 10, 2010). http://www.theheart.org/article/1055235.do
- Khamsi, Roxanne. "Psoriasis linked to tripled risk of heart attack." Oct. 10. 2006. (May 5, 2010). http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn10270-psoriasis-linked-to-tripled-risk-of-heart-attack.html
- Laino, Charlene. "Cholesterol Drugs May Treat Psoriasis." March 8, 2005. (May 10, 2010). http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/03/09/health/webmd/main6281497.shtml
- Laino, Charlene. "Psoriasis Linked to Heart Disease, Cancer." March 15, 2010. (May 5, 2010) http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15209007/
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- Petty, Moira. "Psoriasis linked to heart disease." Daily Mail. Oct. 25, 2005. (May 10, 2010). http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-366483/Psoriasis-linked-heart-disease.html
- Stone, Neil. "Consequences of High Cholesterol." HowStuffWorks.com. April 4. 2007. (May 10, 2010). https://health.howstuffworks.com/consequences-of-high-cholesterol.htm
- Wolff, Klaus et al. "Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine." Oct. 17, 2007. (May 19, 2010).http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aid=2983780
- American Academy of Dermatology."Are lifestyle choices affecting your Psoriasis?" PsoriasisNet. (May 10, 2010).http://www.skincarephysicians.com/psoriasisnet/lifestyle_choices.htm
- Associated Press." Psoriasis may raise heart attack risk." Oct 6, 2010. (May 5, 2010). http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15209007/
- ADAM. "Psoriasis In-Depth." HowStuffWorks.com. April 3, 2007. (May 10, 2010). https://healthguide.howstuffworks.com/psoriasis-in-depth.htm
- MediLexicon. "Evidence That People With Psoriasis Have Greater Risk For Developing Heart Disease Than General Population." Medical News Today. Nov. 13, 2006. (May 5, 2010). http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/56499.php
- National Institutes of Health. "Psoriasis." July 1, 2001. (May 5, 2010). http://www.nih.gov/about/researchresultsforthepublic/psoriasis.pdf