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Study Links Metabolic Syndrome and Psoriasis


A small cohort study reported in a poster presentation at the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology found that more than half of patients with psoriasis met diagnostic criteria for metabolic syndrome.

Dr. Anna Ravella of Hospital Dos de Maig in Barcelona, Spain studied 91 patients with psoriasis. Body Mass Index (BMI), waist circumference, blood pressure, glucose tests, and lipid profiles were obtained from each patient. Of the 91 participants, 54% met criteria for metabolic syndrome.

The 2005 International Diabetes Foundation diagnostic criteria were used to define metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors for heart disease consisting of BMI greater than 30, waist circumference greater than 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women, blood pressure greater than 135/85, fasting plasma glucose greater than 100 mg/dl, and dyslipidemia consisting of high triglycerides, high LDL cholesterol, and low HDL cholesterol.

Of the study participants, approximately 70% were overweight or obese as measured by BMI and weight circumference. Excess weight can increase the risk of inverse psoriasis, a type of psoriasis that mainly affects skin in areas that are prone to friction and sweating, such as the armpits, groin, and under the breasts in women. In addition, plaques associated with all types of psoriasis often develop in skin creases and folds.

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Psoriasis has previously been linked to risk factors for heart disease in a large study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2006. Over 700,000 British adults were studied, and found that heart attack risk was elevated in those with psoriasis.

About 7.5 million American adults are afflicted with psoriasis, a chronic skin condition that causes redness and irritation most often seen on the elbows, knees, and trunk of the body. It is likely an inherited disorder involving the immune system. There is no known cure, but patients can have spontaneous remission, where the condition can disappear for a period of time.

Patients with psoriasis are encouraged to reduce their modifiable risk factors for heart disease, including weight loss, the reduction of blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and lipids, and smoking cessation.

World Psoriasis Day is celebrated on October 29, 2009.

Source reference: Ravella A, et al "High frequency of metabolic syndrome in psoriatic patients" EADV 2009, Abstract 1242. Other Sources Include: The National Psoriasis Foundation, the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations, and the American Heart Association