High blood pressure linked to severe psoriasis

| Melissa Leavitt

You may already know that having psoriasis increases your chances of developing heart disease. Now researchers have discovered a connection between psoriasis severity and one of the major risk factors for heart disease, high blood pressure.

According to the results of a recent study, the chances of having uncontrolled blood pressure are increased in people with more severe psoriasis. The researchers define uncontrolled blood pressure as systolic blood pressure of 140 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) or higher or diastolic blood pressure of 90 mm Hg or higher.

The study was funded in part through the National Psoriasis Foundation, which awarded $40,000 Medical Dermatology Research Fellowships in 2011 and in 2012 to the lead author of the study, Junko Takeshita.

Using The Health Improvement Network (THIN), a patient database used by general practitioners in the United Kingdom, researchers compared the blood pressure records of 1,322 people with psoriasis and 11,977 people without psoriasis. All participants in the study had received a diagnosis of hypertension, or high blood pressure, and patients with psoriasis were categorized as having mild, moderate or severe disease.

Researchers classified mild psoriasis as affecting 2 percent or less of a patient’s body surface area (BSA); moderate psoriasis as affecting 3 to 10 percent of BSA; and severe psoriasis as affecting more than 10 percent BSA.

Among the participants with psoriasis, 680 had mild psoriasis, 469 had moderate psoriasis and 173 had severe psoriasis, the researchers report.

The study, published in October in JAMA Dermatology, found a significant association between uncontrolled hypertension and moderate or severe psoriasis. This association was still significant even after researchers considered other risk factors for hypertension, such as high body mass index or the presence of conditions such as diabetes and high cholesterol.

People with moderate psoriasis were 20 percent more likely to have uncontrolled blood pressure than people without psoriasis, and people with severe psoriasis were 48 percent more likely, according to the results.

These findings demonstrate the need for people with moderate or severe psoriasis to manage their blood pressure, the researchers conclude.


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