Kim Kardashian joins LeAnn Rimes, Phil Mickelson, and Project Runway’sTim Gunn in battling psoriasis, a chronic disease linked to higher risk for heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and cancer. 7.5 million Americans suffer from the red, sore, flaky and often itchy skin patches that mark the most common form of the disease. In a video posted on the “Keeping up with the Kardashians” website, the reality star was shocked to learn that the “rash” on her legs that her sister, Khloe, thought might be ringworm was actually psoriasis. The incurable disease typically strikes people between the ages of 15 and 35, but can begin at any age.
While the 30-year-old celebrity worried about the impact on her looks, the disease isn’t just skin deep. Scientific evidence indicates that psoriasis is a systemic disease that ignites inflammation inside the body, including blood vessels. Researchers believe this explains why sufferers have up to five times the normal risk for heart attacks, according to a study of nearly 700,000 people. The disease also boosts the threat of stroke and peripheral artery disease (clogged vessels in the legs) as much as smoking does. Here’s a look at psoriasis and its dangers.