Psoriasis severity linked to blood vessel inflammation
A new study conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has found, in the words of the lead researcher who conducted it, that “the more psoriasis was on the skin, the more inflammation there was in the blood vessels.”
Blood vessel inflammation is of concern because while “it is not proven that inflammation causes cardiovascular disease, inflammation is common for heart disease and stroke patients….”
Patients with severe psoriasis have been found to be at higher risk for heart attack and stroke. This new research shows an association between extent of skin psoriasis and amount of inflammation in one’s blood vessels.
It also raises the intriguing question whether treating psoriasis might also reduce the patient’s inflammation, with potential reductions in risk of cardiovascular disease.
Now, it is worth noting that this relatively small study compared the blood vessel inflammation levels of patients with psoriasis, to those of a set of patients without psoriasis. But the group who had psoriasis were six years older, on average, than the patients without psoriasis. This might account for some of the differences found in inflammation levels.
Still, while scientists sort this out, it is important for psoriasis patients to control the cardiovascular risk factors that they can control. This study continues to add to the evidence that psoriasis is itself a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.