Psoriasis skin disease is associated with atherosclerosis (a buildup of plaque in the arteries) characterized by an increased prevalence of ischemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, peripheral artery disease and an increased risk of death, revealed by researchers.
The study is reported in the June issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
Psoriasis affects nearly 2 percent to 3 percent of the world’s population, including 7 million Americans. In addition to its effects on the skin, psoriasis is associated with arthritis, depression and a lower quality of life.
“More recently, psoriasis has also been shown to be a systemic inflammatory condition, with similarities to other inflammatory immune disorders,” the authors write. “Since the risk of myocardial infarction is increased in rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus, which are both inflammatory conditions, attention has been focused on the association between psoriasis, cardiovascular risk factors and myocardial infarction.”
Srjdan Prodanovich, M.D., of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and colleagues analyzed the computerized records of 3,236 patients with psoriasis and 2,500 individuals without psoriasis who were seen at the same Veterans Administration facility. Patients in the psoriasis group were slightly older than those in the control group without psoriasis (average age 67.9 vs. 65.1) and were more likely to be men (95.5 percent vs. 88.2 percent).
“Patients with psoriasis were significantly more likely than controls to carry a diagnosis of atherosclerosis,” the authors write. Patients with psoriasis were also more likely to have an additional diagnosis of another blood vessel disease, including ischemic heart disease (affecting vessels leading to the heart), cerebral vascular disease (vessels leading to the brain) or peripheral arterial disease (vessels outside the heart and brain).
“We found a higher percentage of deaths among patients with psoriasis than among patients without psoriasis (19.6 percent vs. 9.9 percent).” Future studies should investigate whether aggressive treatment of either cardiovascular risk factors or psoriasis will lead to an improvement in atherosclerosis in these patients, the authors conclude.
Source: Archives of Dermatology, USA