A recent study published in the Journal of Dermatology investigates the link between psoriasis and the risk of cardiovascular surgery in patients with hypertension.

Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease that is characterized by patches of rashes and scaly skin on certain areas of the body. The triggers for this disease is not fully understood but scientists believe that psoriasis is caused by faulty immune mechanisms whereby immune cells mistakenly attack healthy skin cells and cause inflammation. There is no cure for the disease, but lifestyle changes may help reduce the severity of the symptoms.

Psoriasis and high blood pressure

Scientists have determined that people with psoriasis are more likely to have hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, and obesity. All of these diseases are influenced by inflammation, which can advance the rate of plaque buildup in blood vessels and eventually lead to cardiovascular disease.

Some studies have shown that hypertension is harder to treat in psoriatic patients compared to patients without the disease. With many common underlying mechanisms among these diseases, researchers were interested to determine whether having psoriasis and hypertension would bring about worse cardiovascular outcomes. A group from Taiwan investigated this question and recently published their findings in the Journal of Dermatology.

Increased risk of cardiovascular procedure

The authors of this study used the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database to examine patients with hypertension during 2005-2006. A subset of these patients, around 4000, had psoriasis and analyses were performed on this group and a similar group of patients with hypertension but not psoriasis. The average age of these patients was 58 years and approximately a third of them were female.

Consistent with previous studies, patients with psoriasis and high blood pressure were more likely to have coronary heart disease and diabetes than patients without psoriasis. The authors then performed statistical analyses on the frequency of cardiovascular procedures and surgeries, which determined that the risk of having these procedures was associated with having psoriasis.

Overall, this study showed a relationship between psoriasis and risk for cardiovascular procedure and surgery in the context of patients with high blood pressure. The findings in this study support the idea that there are related immunological mechanisms underlying these separate diseases and conditions.

By identifying that psoriatic patients with hypertension have more cardiovascular complications, physicians will be better informed to take measures that can help prevent cardiovascular disease in this population.

Written by Branson Chen, BHSc

Reference: Chiu HY, Chang WL, Shiu MN, Huang WF, Tsai TF. Psoriasis is associated with a greater risk for cardiovascular procedure and surgery in patients with hypertension: A nationwide cohort study. The Journal of Dermatology. 2018 Oct 16.

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