Psoriasis, characterized by red, scaly patches of skin topped by silvery flakes, affects around 3% of Americans and, according to the NIH, is believed to be an autoimmune reaction that abnormally increases skin cell turnover and accumulation.
Patients with the chronic inflammatory skin disease psoriasis may be at an increased risk for the metabolic syndrome.
In a study of more than 6,500 noninstitutionalized civilian US population, aged 20 to 59 years, the prevalence of metabolic syndrome was higher among patients with psoriasis than among those without (40% among psoriasis cases and 23% among controls).
The most common feature of the metabolic syndrome among patients with psoriasis was abdominal obesity, followed by hypertriglyceridemia and low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
Thorvardur Jon Love et al said their findings may explain the increased risk of cardiovascular and metabolic morbidity and mortality among psoriasis patients that has been reported in previous studies.
They added that a diagnosis of psoriasis should "trigger a high clinical suspicion and investigation for a potential coexistence of the metabolic syndrome."
Metabolic syndrome increase the risk for coronary artery disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and liver cancer. Click here for our earlier on metabolic syndrome.
What this means to you as a patient with psoriasis is that you should discuss with your doctor about tests for the following risk factors :
- Raised Blood Pressure,
- Elevated Waist Circumference,
- Low HDL or “Good” Cholesterol,
- Raised Triglyceride Levels and
- Raised Fasting Plasma Glucose Levels.
Love TJ, Qureshi AA, Karlson EW, Gelfand JM, Choi HK. Prevalence of the Metabolic Syndrome in Psoriasis: Results From the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2003-2006. Arch Dermatol. 2011;147(4):419-424.