Smokers can add a new health risk to the ever-growing list of hazards posed by their habit: the unsightly and often painful skin condition known as psoriasis.
We all know that smoking can effect the health of the skin, including increasing skin wrinkles, but this recent study indicates the odds of developing other serious skin conditions.
American and Canadian investigators who analyzed data from the long-running Nurses Health Study find smoking increases the risk of psoriasis by 78 percent when compared to never smoking.
The link between smoking and psoriasis is long-lasting too. Former smokers have a 37 percent higher risk overall, and the risk doesn’t decline until 20 years after a person kicks the habit.
Heavier smokers fare worse than lighter smokers too. In the study, psoriasis risk went up with the number of “pack-years” smoked. A pack-year is defined as smoking 20 cigarettes per day for one year.
Even exposure to secondhand smoke appeared to increase the danger, with a higher risk seen for study participants who were exposed to smoke while their mothers were pregnant or when they were children.
“These findings, along with well-established hazardous health effects of smoking, provide clear incentives for smoking cessation in those at risk for and suffering from psoriasis,” study author Hyon K. Choi, M.D., Dr.P.H., was quoted as saying. “Beyond the potential effect on psoriasis, smoking cessation would lead to a better overall clinical outcome in psoriasis patients, who often suffer co-morbidities related to smoking.”
This article was reported by Ivanhoe.com, which offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, click on: http://www.ivanhoe.com/newsalert/.
SOURCE: The American Journal of Medicine, published October 29, 2007
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