59 year old Robert Bursey has had psoriasis for over 30 years. I’ve had a very dramatic case with it, as far as up to 75 percent of my body was covered with psoriasis. Psoriasis is one of the most common skin conditions, affecting at least one million Canadians. It can cause skin to flake and scale exerting a dramatic physical and psychological toll on those affected. And now, it appears the condition may be more than skin deep. Sunnybrook’s head of dermatology, Dr. Neil Shear, says growing evidence suggests psoriasis is also linked to a number of health problems. We know they have problems with arthritis in maybe 10 to 15 percent of people, we know they have problems often with obesity and being overweight, we know it’s a condition that’s worsened by alcohol and certain medications and we know it can affect inflammation throughout the body, including even in the heart. I had four eye surgeries, kidney failure, a heart attack and knee replacement, so I went through hell fro a while. Dr. Shear says psoriasis is an inflammatory disease with a genetic link, so those genes attacking the skin may be attacking other organs in the body as well. This doesn’t happen in all patients, but more often in those with severe psoriasis. The good news is treatments are available to help. For instance, light therapy or pills of the injectables that we have now. They decrease the inflammation, again very targeted, and that affects one part of the inflammation that’s too active throughout the body. The results we’re seeing are suggesting that yes it will help the bowels, yes it will help the heart and yes it will help the arthritis and it may help many things. And also, when you clear up people’s skin and when you clear up their joints they go out, they exercise more, they socialiize, they become happier, healthier people. That may be having an impact as well. Robert has seen that impact, after finding an effective injectable treatment. Not only have these reduced the psoriasis, but it’s also reduced the inflammation in my joints, so it’s much easier for me to get around. Robert says it’s important his whole health care team stay in the loop to make sure his psoriasis and other health issues are managed together. With Sunnyview, I’m Monica Matys.