Special section: Cardiovascular connections: Psoriasis is more than skin deep

Special section: Cardiovascular connections

Psoriasis is more than skin deep

Published: September, 2009

Cardiologists have long looked to the skin for outward signs of heart disease. Yellowish pimple-like eruptions signal a cholesterol-processing disorder. Drumstick-like swelling of the tips of the fingers and toes can warn of infective endocarditis. Bluish lips and cheeks can be a tip-off of trouble with the mitral valve.

A burgeoning body of research suggests that psoriasis (sore-EYE-uh-sis) is somehow linked to heart disease. About five million Americans have this lifelong skin disorder. There are five different types. The most common, plaque psoriasis, usually starts as round or oval patches of red, scaly skin. These itchy patches of dead and dying skin cells tend to appear on the elbows, knees, scalp, or buttocks, but can spread across the body.

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