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Higher Mortality Risk with Severe Psoriasis

Skin disease takes three to four years off a patient's life

FRIDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with severe psoriasis have a higher risk of mortality than those without the skin condition, researchers report in the December issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

Joel M. Gelfand, M.D., and colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, studied a U.K. database of general practitioners to identify 133,568 patients with mild psoriasis, 3,951 patients with severe psoriasis, and 560,358 and 15,075 respective matched controls.

Although there was no association between mild psoriasis and increased risk of mortality, those with severe psoriasis died younger than those without psoriasis: men died 3.5 years younger while women died 4.4 years younger. The increased mortality risk persisted even when other major mortality risk factors were taken into account.

"This finding suggests that severe psoriasis is an important predictor of mortality risk. It is also possible that comorbid illnesses that predict death are incompletely detected in medical practice," the authors write. "Patients with severe psoriasis should receive comprehensive health assessments to enhance preventive health practices, improve overall health, and decrease the risk of mortality," they conclude.

Several authors report grant funding from various pharmaceutical companies.

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