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Psoriasis Patients More Likely to Smoke, Be Obese

Smoking may be involved in onset or exacerbation of psoriasis, but obesity is not, researchers say

FRIDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Psoriasis patients are more likely to smoke cigarettes and to be obese than people without psoriasis, according to a study in the December issue of Archives of Dermatology. But while smoking may have a role in the onset of the skin condition, obesity does not, the researchers report.

Mark D. Herron, M.D., a physician in private practice in Montgomery, Ala., and colleagues from the University of Utah School of Medicine report that 34% of Utah psoriasis patients are obese compared to 18% of the general state population. And 37% of Utah psoriasis patients acknowledge smoking, versus 13% of the general population. "Obesity appears to be the consequence of psoriasis and not a risk factor for onset of disease," the researchers write.

In another study, Cristina Fortes, Ph.D., of Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico in Rome, Italy, and colleagues report that cigarette-years of smoking significantly increase the risk of psoriasis, and that heavy smokers with psoriasis are twice as likely as patients who are light smokers to have clinically severe psoriasis.

In an accompanying editorial, Mark G. Lebwohl, M.D., of Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, notes that the "studies do not answer the question, however, of whether psoriasis leads to smoking or smoking exacerbates psoriasis."

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