WebMD Health News
June 15, 2009 -- People with psoriasis may need to pay
close attention to their cardiovascular risks, a new study shows.
The study, which appears in the June issue of Archives of
Dermatology, looked at more than 5,700 patients at the Miami VA Medical
Center, including 3,236 psoriasis patients. The patients were 68 years old, on
average; most were men and were treated as outpatients at any time from 1985 to
Psoriasis patients were particularly likely to have diabetes, high blood pressure, and poor cholesterol profiles. Those conditions make
cardiovascular problems more likely.
But even beyond that, psoriasis still looked risky.
Even after adjusting for traditional risk factors for heart disease, compared to other patients, the psoriasis
The study doesn't prove that psoriasis caused cardiovascular problems. But
researcher Robert Kirsner, MD, PhD, says the findings showed psoriasis to be a
"The risk was similar to well-known risk factors such as dyslipidemia [poor
cholesterol profiles] and smoking," says Kirsner, who is a professor and the vice
chair of the dermatology department at the University of Miami Miller School of
It's not clear if psoriasis treatment lowers that risk. "We think it
does ... but this needs to be confirmed," Kirsner says.
Previous research suggests that having severe psoriasis or having psoriasis
for a long time may mean greater cardiovascular risk than having milder
psoriasis for a shorter time, Kirsner notes. The new study didn't get into
Kirsner's team urges dermatologists to make sure they're familiar with
suggested screening for cardiovascular risk factors and recommendations for aspirin use.
Some psoriasis patients only see dermatologists, "and we don't want
dermatologists to miss an opportunity to help not just their skin, but their
brain, their hearts, and their legs," Kirsner says.
SOURCES:Prodanovich, S. Archives of Dermatology, June 2009; vol 145: pp
700-703.Robert Kirsner, MD, PhD, professor and vice chairman, dermatology
department, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
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