Four and a half years ago, painful red spots appeared on Nancy Van Wickle's arms, back and legs. Doctors diagnosed her with psoriasis.
"I actually had people stop and ask me if I wore shorts -- 'have you been burned?' It's that severe looking," she said.
Her doctors suggested a drug that is a TNF inhibitor. It cleared up her skin almost immediately.
"For my line of work I needed to dress professionally. You can do that with pants, but it sure extended the wardrobe," Van Wickle said.
New research from Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center shows this same treatment has another benefit.
"Patients who were given a TNF inhibitor are almost 50-percent less likely to have a heart attack compared to patients who receive other medications," said Dr. Jay Wu with the Medical Center.
Patients use their own pen to administer the TNF inhibitor themselves. People with psoriasis are at higher risk for cardiovascular diseases because the condition causes inflammation in the body
"This inflammation brings out diabetes, high blood pressure, and ultimately a heart attack," Dr. Wu said.
The treatment attacks the inflammation and lowers the risk. It's an easy treatment that takes Van Wickle less than a minute once every two weeks. It also helped her become less self conscious about her psoriasis, especially when she worked.
"To be able to have something simple as a skirt and sweater -- you just feel more professional. It was a definite plus.
And she's glad that the drug that makes her skin look better may have another life-saving benefit.
Edward Lawrence - CBS News
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