New York: Adding to the list of possible health consequences from smoking, a large study suggests that smokers have an increased risk of developing the chronic skin condition psoriasis.People with psoriasis develop thick, red, scaly patches on the skin, which are often itchy or sore.Experts believe the disease is caused by an abnormal immune system attack on the body`s own cells. Some studies have suggested that smokers are more vulnerable to psoriasis, possibly because the habit can affect immune activity.But most have studied people at only one time-point, which makes it hard to be sure the smoking came before the psoriasis.So for the new study, researchers used data from three large, long-running studies of U.S. health professionals.Of nearly 186,000 men and women followed for 12 to 20 years, 2,410 developed psoriasis during that time. And the risk was greater among both current smokers and former smokers.People who were current smokers at the study`s start were almost twice as likely as lifelong non-smokers to develop psoriasis. And past smokers had a 39 percent higher risk than non-smokers.The findings, reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology, do not prove that smoking, itself, causes psoriasis in some people.But it is clear that the smoking came before the psoriasis, said senior researcher Dr. Abrar A. Qureshi, of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women`s Hospital in Boston.
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