From Our 2009 Archives
Psoriasis May Raise Cardiovascular Risks
Study Shows Increased Risk of Heart Disease, Stroke, and Atherosclerosis in Psoriasis Patients
Reviewed By Elizabeth Klodas, MD, FACC
The study of more than 5,700 patients at the Miami VA Medical Center included 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 2005.
But even beyond that, psoriasis still looked risky.
Even after adjusting for traditional risk factors for heart disease, compared to other patients, the psoriasis patients were:
The study doesn't prove that psoriasis caused cardiovascular problems. But researcher Robert Kirsner, MD, PhD, says the findings showed psoriasis to be a risk factor.
"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 Medicine.
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 that.
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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