Uncontrolled Hypertension Risk Higher with Psoriasis

Researchers suspect inflammation is the common denominator.
Researchers suspect inflammation is the common denominator.

People with more severe cases of psoriasis may be at increased risk of uncontrolled hypertension, according to a study published in JAMA Dermatology.

"We still don't fully understand why we see a higher prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors in people with psoriasis," study leader Junko Takeshita, M.D., a clinical instructor of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, told HealthDay. But, Takeshita said, chronic inflammation could be a common denominator.

The current findings are based on an electronic medical database that included 13,299 adults diagnosed with hypertension. Of those people, 1,322 also had psoriasis. Takeshita's team found that among people with severe psoriasis (affecting more than 10 percent of their skin), almost 60 percent had uncontrolled hypertension (a reading of 140/90 mm Hg or higher).

What's more, their odds of poorly controlled blood pressure were 48 percent higher, versus people without psoriasis. Meanwhile, people with moderate psoriasis (at least 3 percent of the skin affected) had a 20 percent higher risk.

The researchers did consider other factors that affect blood pressure control, including people's weight, smoking and drinking habits, and use of medications that can raise blood pressure. But psoriasis itself was still associated with a higher risk of uncontrolled hypertension. Takeshita agreed that the findings bring more awareness to the cardiovascular risks many people with psoriasis face.

"Even among doctors, there's still an under-recognition," she said. A big question, Takeshita noted, is whether getting severe psoriasis under better control with medication can improve people's cardiovascular health, too.

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