Psoriasis Linked To More Severe Hypertension

(Medical News Today (press release)) — UC Davis dermatologists have found that people who have high blood pressure as well as psoriasis – a condition that causes patches of irritated, itchy red skin – are more likely to have more severe high blood pressure and require more medications to control it than people without psoriasis. The association between high blood pressure (hypertension) and psoriasis is an active area of investigation, but this is the first study to suggest a link between the dermatological condition and hypertension severity.

The findings are reported in the article, “Psoriasis and Hypertension Severity: Results from a Case-Control Study,” which is now available online in PLoS ONE, the open-access journal for the communication of peer-reviewed scientific and medical research.

“Our study makes a strong case that psoriasis is not just a skin-deep disease,” said April W. Armstrong, assistant clinical professor of dermatology and principal investigator and lead author of the study. “We are beginning to find that psoriasis may represent a window into detecting cardiovascular conditions, including hypertension.”

Psoriasis affects about 4 percent of the U.S. population and causes patches of itchy, thickened, dry, reddened skin. It is passed down in families and is believed to be caused by a person’s immune system mistakenly attacking one’s own skin cells. The severity of the condition varies considerably among individuals and over time. It often flares up during dry weather or with infections.

“The study’s findings can alert primary-care providers, cardiologists and nephrologists, all of whom frequently treat hypertension,” said Armstrong. “Hypertensive patients who also have psoriasis are likely to need closer monitoring and a more aggressive drug regimen to achieve adequate blood-pressure control.”

The UC Davis study involved 835 patients who had both psoriasis and hypertension. Their cases were compared with more than 2,400 other individuals (the control group) who had hypertension but not psoriasis. Hypertension severity was based on the levels of treatment, ranging from lifestyle modifications to medications and central-acting agents that target the central nervous system.


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