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Psoriasis Increases Heart Risk

Thursday, 17 November 2011 12:18 PM

Psoriasis patients have an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and cardiovascular death, especially if the psoriasis is moderate to severe, says research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. And Penn researchers have discovered the underlying mechanism by which the inflammatory skin disease impacts cardiovascular health.
Penn researchers presented two new studies at the 2011 American Heart Association Scientific Sessions which show that the inflammation associated with psoriasis may change both the makeup of cholesterol particles and numbers, as well as impair the function of high density lipoprotein (HDL), the “good” cholesterol.
“Anecdotally, many researchers have observed that HDL levels may be lower in states of inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and even obesity,” lead study author Dr. Nehal Mehta, director of Inflammatory Risk in Preventive Cardiology at Penn, said in a press release. “However, these new findings suggest that in addition to lower levels, chronic inflammation associated with conditions like psoriasis may change the composition and decrease the function of HDL as well.”
In the new studies, researchers enrolled 78 patients with psoriasis and 84 control subjects. In the first study, the authors measured fasting lipid levels and examined the number and size of cholesterol particles using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. This analysis revealed that patients with psoriasis had a higher number of smaller LDL particles, or “bad” cholesterol, which was independent of traditional risk factors and obesity. “It was striking that the NMR profiles from patients with psoriasis resembled those seen in patients with diabetes, and that these patients with psoriasis had otherwise normal traditional lipid panels,” Dr. Mehta added.
In the second study, the researchers measured HDL efflux, which is the ability of a patient’s HDL to remove cholesterol from cells involved in atherosclerosis. This process, known as ‘reverse cholesterol transport,’ is why HDL may have protective properties. In a previous study, researchers at Penn have demonstrated that measuring HDL efflux capacity may be a more effective barometer of protection from heart disease than measuring HDL levels alone.
In this same group of patients who had normal cholesterol levels compared to controls, patients with psoriasis had a dramatically reduced HDL efflux capacity compared to control patients. The negative association between psoriasis and HDL efflux remained after adjusting for traditional risk factors, including lipid levels and body mass index (BMI).
“Patients with psoriasis had an approximate 25 percent reduction in the HDL efflux capacity than the controls, despite their relatively normal overall lipid profiles which leads to the question of whether function is more important than concentration in chronic inflammatory states,” Dr. Mehta said.
“We’ve been able to show that psoriasis is an important risk factor for vascular disease, and now we may finally be able to identify and ultimately treat the pathways by which psoriasis increases these risks,” said Dr. Joel M. Gefland, assistant professor of Dermatology and Epidemiology, and a senior author on the studies.

© HealthDay

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Patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
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Thursday, 17 November 2011 12:18 PM
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