A recent study suggests that people with psoriasis, a chronic inflammatory disease, may be more likely than others to experience heart attacks and strokes at least in part because inflammation damages their vascular system.
The analysis of tests for 190 psoriasis patients found that the longer people had lived with psoriasis, the more inflammation they had in their blood vessels.
While these imaging tests didn’t connect vascular inflammation to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes, researchers also examined data on roughly 87,000 Danish adults with psoriasis and another 4.2 million people without the condition. They found each year people lived with psoriasis was associated with a 1% increase in the future risk of cardiovascular events like heart attacks and strokes.
According to Reuters, Lead study author Dr. Alexander Egeberg of Gentofte Hospital in Copenhagen said: “It has been suspected that long-term exposure to low-grade systemic inflammation may increase the risk of cardiovascular events, but the effect of disease duration on the relationship between psoriasis and cardiovascular disease has been unclear.”
He added that even though plenty of previous research has linked psoriasis to heart disease, the current results offer fresh evidence that living longer with systemic inflammation can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes even for psoriasis patients who don’t have other risk factors for heart disease such as smoking, diabetes or advanced age.
The authors note in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology that one limitation of the study is that researchers lacked data for the Danish population on other factors that influence cardiovascular health such as obesity and exercise habits.