Patients whose psoriasis covers a large percentage of their body face a significantly higher risk of death than those who do not have the disease, according to results of a recent study.

The study, published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, evaluated data on 8760 patients with psoriasis whose disease severity was determined using an objective metric called body surface area (BSA), which measures the percentage of a patient’s skin that is covered by psoriasis.

After comparing these patients with a group of 87,600 individuals without psoriasis over an average follow-up period of 4 years, the research team found that there was an average of 6.39 deaths per 1000 person-years among patients with psoriasis on more than 10% of their bodies compared with just 3.24 deaths in patients without psoriasis. After adjusting for other demographic factors, the investigators also found that patients with a BSA greater than 10% were 1.79 times more likely to have died than individuals of comparable age and gender without the condition.

“By using BSA, which we can evaluate in a patient’s clinical visit, we can better understand which patients are at highest risk for future medical problems and need preventive care,” lead author Megan H. Noe, MD, MPH, said in a statement.

The study’s authors noted that further research is need- ed to investigate the specific causes of death in patients with severe psoriasis, as well as to explore potential treatment options that could reduce the risk of early death in this population.