Cardiovascular Comorbidities in Patients with Psoriasis: The Dermatologist; Volume 23, Issue 4, April 2015

Psoriasis is a chronic, autoimmune disease that appears on the skin as red scaly patches. Any part of the body can be affected. Many patients with psoriasis experience itching, pain and debilitation from their skin lesions. The prevalence of psoriasis is dependent on ethnic and genetic factors. Although we don’t completely understand all of the complex factors that cause psoriasis, research has shown T cell lymphocytes play a key role in creating psoriasis.

Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States. For years, it was believed that cardiovascular disease was a direct result of chronic high blood pressure and high cholesterol. However, new research shows T cell lymphocytes play a key role in contributing to cardiovascular disease.

Since both psoriasis and cardiovascular disease are dependent on T cell lymphocyte dysregulation, researchers were interested in the link between the two diseases. It was found that patients with psoriasis have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and an increased risk of developing cardiovascular risk factors because of the T cell lymphocyte dysregulation. The cardiovascular risk factors which are increased include non-insulin dependent diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart attack. Fortunately, it was also shown that some of the systemic medications used to treat psoriasis can lower the risks of cardiovascular disease. Some of the injectable biologic medications such as Humira®, Enbrel® and Methotrexate have been found to be the the best medications for lowering cardiovascular risks.