Psoriasis, High Blood Pressure May Be Linked05/20/11
FRIDAY, May 20 (HealthDay News) -- People who have psoriasis and
hypertension are more likely to have more severe high blood
pressure, requiring more medications to control it, a new study
About 4 percent of the U.S. population has psoriasis, which
causes itchy, thickened, dry, red patches on the skin.
Researchers from the University of California, Davis Health
System examined 835 patients who had psoriasis and hypertension.
Their cases were compared with more than 2,400 people who had
hypertension but not psoriasis.
The patients with psoriasis were more likely to need the highest
level of blood pressure treatment, which relies on a central-acting
agent (also known as adrenergic inhibitors) that's used in people
whose high blood pressure can't be controlled with conventional
Hypertensive patients with psoriasis were also nearly 20 times
more likely to be on four drugs or on a central-acting agent than
hypertensive patients without psoriasis.
The study is published online in
The study's authors noted the findings were significant even
after other risk factors associated with hypertension, including
diabetes, smoking and high cholesterol, were taken into account.
The researchers also pointed out it is unlikely that drugs used to
treat psoriasis are responsible for the increased severity of
"Our study makes a strong case that psoriasis is not just a skin-deep disease," said lead study author Dr. April W. Armstrong, UC Davis assistant clinical professor of dermatology, in a university news release. "We are beginning to find that psoriasis may represent a window into detecting cardiovascular conditions, including hypertension."
Armstrong added that the findings may alert physicians who treat
hypertension, a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
"Hypertensive patients who also have psoriasis are likely to need
closer monitoring and a more aggressive drug regimen to achieve
adequate blood-pressure control," she said.
Over the past four decades, researchers have developed several
theories to explain the link between psoriasis and hypertension,
- People with psoriasis may be more likely to develop constricted
blood vessels, which increases blood pressure.
- Patients with psoriasis have elevated levels of a protein
produced by skin cells (endothelin I), which constricts blood
vessels and increases blood pressure.
- As an inflammatory disease, psoriasis can result in damage to
blood vessels and the heart.
"Our understanding of psoriasis as a systemic disease is rapidly evolving," concluded Armstrong. "A better appreciation of the other conditions that tend to accompany psoriasis could potentially drive our therapy of the disease in the future."
While the new study found an association between psoriasis and
high blood pressure, it did not demonstrate a cause-and-effect.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health offers more detailed
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