Fact or Myth: Does Psoriasis Raise Your Risk for Cardiovascular Disease?

This is a FACT.

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder that affects approximately 7.5 million Americans. The scaly, itching, bleeding skin is bad enough, but research points to an even more problematic consequence of psoriasis. It has been linked to such chronic and life-threatening diseases as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and Psoriatic arthritis.

psoriasisInflammation Overload

The culprit is the inflammation brought on by psoriasis. In fact, inflammation is a more reliable indicator of heart disease than cholesterol levels are, because cardiovascular disease is a type of inflammation of the blood vessels. The inflammation driven by psoriasis indicates that inflammation is affecting other organ systems in your body as well.

The National Psoriasis Foundation reports that people with severe psoriasis have a 58% greater chance of having a heart attack and a 43% greater chance of suffering a stroke. That probability increases the younger you are. A 30 year old with psoriasis has a three times greater chance of having a heart attack than a 30 year old without psoriasis.

Diabetes Risk

Psoriasis also increases your risk for type 2 diabetes by 46%…even in the absence of other risk factors such as obesity. The link is again held together by inflammation. Inflammation worsens insulin resistance, which is the precursor for diabetes.

Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis typically emerges in one out of three psoriasis sufferers about 10 years after the initial psoriasis diagnosis. Systemic inflammation gradually seeps into the joints and tendons, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness.

Psoriasis has also been linked to an increased risk for certain cancers, kidney disease, peptic ulcers, and high cholesterol.

Keeping Inflammation in Check

Manage your psoriasis, and reduce your risk for the aforementioned chronic diseases, by controlling inflammation. Avoid the following pro-inflammatory foods:

  • Dairy products
  • Fatty red meats
  • Processed foods
  • Refined sugars
  • Nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, potatoes)

And eat the following anti-inflammatory foods:

  • Coldwater fish (rich in omega-3)
  • Olive oil
  • Flax seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Colorful vegetables (kale, strawberries, spinach)