Can psoriasis increase my chances of a heart attack?

Seeking Professional Help for Psoriasis
In Kangal, Turkey, psoriasis patients seek relief in mineral-rich springs laden with gara ruffa obtusa, or "doctor fish." These fish eat away at diseased skin.
In Kangal, Turkey, psoriasis patients seek relief in mineral-rich springs laden with gara ruffa obtusa, or "doctor fish." These fish eat away at diseased skin.
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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.

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