Psoriasis Linked to Higher Rates of Atherosclerosis and Death

June 24, 2009

Researchers have found a higher prevalence of diabetes mellitus, hypertension dyslipidemia, and smoking among patients with psoriasis.

Researchers from the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami have found a higher prevalence of diabetes mellitus, hypertension dyslipidemia, and smoking among patients with psoriasis, according to study results published in the Archives of Dermatology. The authors stated that the association “applies to coronary artery, cerebrovascular and peripheral vascular diseases and results in an increased risk of death.” Psoriasis has also been found to be associated with arthritis, depression, and a lower quality of life, according to the authors. Once these factors had been controlled for, the authors wrote, a higher prevalence of ischemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and peripheral vascular disease was seen in patients with psoriasis when compared to controls. In addition, psoriasis was found to be “an independent risk factor for mortality.”

The researchers, from the Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery at the Miller School, examined the computer records of 3,236 patients with psoriasis and 2,500 controls who had been examined at the Miami VA Medical Center. The team noted that the patients with psoriasis were slightly older than the control group, an average of 67.9% for patients with the skin disease and 65.1% for controls.

The team used the codes of the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification for the comparison study.

“Even after controlling for risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, and smoking status, patients with psoriasis were still significantly more likely than controls to carry a diagnosis of atherosclerosis,” said Robert Kirsner, MD, PhD, vice chair of dermatology and cutaneous surgery, Stiefel Laboratories Professor at the Miller School, and senior author of the study. “In our study, having psoriasis carried a similar risk for developing atherosclerosis as smoking and high cholesterol. Patients with psoriasis also had an increased mortality rate from vascular disease complications as well as from other causes."