If You See This on Your Skin, Your Heart Attack Risk Is Higher, Study Says
A new study has found a connection between this skin condition and your heart attack risk.
You can't see any of your organs with your own eyes, except for your largest one: your skin. The good news is, while you can't check to make sure your liver or kidney are in good working order by looking at them on a daily basis, your skin may help give you insight into what else is going on inside your body. It can even hint at how healthy (or not) your heart is, according to a new study. The research has found that a common skin condition raises your risk of having a heart attack. Read on to find out more on the connection between your skin and your heart, and for more heart health indicators to be aware of, If You Can't Do This in 90 Seconds, Your Heart Is in Danger, Study Says.
If you have psoriasis, your heart attack risk is higher.
Psoriasis is a skin condition that, as it turns out, also has a connection to cardiovascular health. According to a study published March 5 in the Chinese Medical Journal, psoriasis is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and is associated with an increased risk of major adverse cardiovascular events, like heart attacks.
An earlier 2006 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association identified that patients with psoriasis were up to three times more likely to have a heart attack than people without the skin condition. This was after researchers analyzed five years' worth of data from around 700,000 people.
And for more on how to tell whether or not your heart is healthy, If You See This in Your Mouth, Your Heart Attack Risk Is High, Study Says.
That's likely because of the increased inflammation that comes with psoriasis.
Psoriasis causes your immune system to overreact and triggers inflammation in your body, according to Healthline. Unfortunately, this inflammation is what can affect your heart.
"Chronic inflammation has long been associated with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke," Kevin R. Campbell, MD, an internist and cardiologist with Cano Health, told Everyday Health. According to Campbell, inflammation can damage the arteries, which results in blockages or plaque buildup inside the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart. And when the flow of blood to your heart is slowed or interrupted, it heightens your risk of heart attack.
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Psoriasis is common, chronic, and has no cure.
According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, 2 to 3 percent of the global population has the condition, including more than 8 million Americans. Unfortunately, as the experts at the Mayo Clinic note, "psoriasis is a common, long-term (chronic) disease with no cure."
It typically causes red, itchy scaly patches on the skin, most commonly affecting the lower back, elbows, knees, legs, soles of the feet, scalp, face, and palms, according to the Mayo Clinic. You could also experience dry, cracked skin that may bleed or itch. Psoriasis tends to come in cycles, with flare-ups triggered by infections, weather, stress, alcohol, and certain medications.
And for more signs of health conditions hiding in plain sight, here are 17 Things Your Nails Can Tell You About Your Health.
But if you're taking medication for psoriasis, your heart attack risk level may change.
While there's no cure for psoriasis, it is something that can be managed, but it's important to research the side effects of potential treatments. Min Chen, PhD, an author for the new study and a professor at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, says that considering the risk of cardiovascular disease and events is important when treating patients with psoriasis.
"Some of the drugs for psoriasis may increase the risks of these diseases, while some can reduce them," Chen explained in a statement.
According to the new study, some psoriasis treatments, such as tumor necrosis factor alpha inhibitors and methotrexate, may reduce a patient's long-term risk of having a heart attack. However, others, like some interleukin inhibitors, increase the risk. That's because, according to Healthline, some psoriasis treatments can cause irregular cholesterol levels, which can then "harden the arteries and make a heart attack even more likely."
And for more on medications to be careful with, If You're Taking Tylenol With This, Your Liver Is in Danger, Experts Say.