Psoriasis and high blood pressure
People who have psoriasis and hypertension (high blood pressure) are more likely to have severe high blood pressure, requiring more medications to control it.
Researchers examined 835 Americans, 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 medicines. 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 findings were significant even after other risk factors associated with hypertension, including diabetes, smoking and high cholesterol, were taken into account. It is unlikely that drugs used to treat psoriasis were responsible for the increased severity of hypertension.
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 increase 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.
The understanding of psoriasis as a systemic disease is rapidly evolving. A better appreciation of the other conditions that tend to accompany psoriasis could potentially drive the treatment of the disease in future.
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