Psoriasis Severity Hikes Odds of Uncontrolled Hypertension

Patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis are more likely to have uncontrolled hypertension.

Patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis are more likely to have uncontrolled hypertension, according to new research from Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania that was published in JAMA Dermatology on October 15, 2014.

"Over the last several years, studies have shown that psoriasis—specifically, severe psoriasis—is an independent risk factor for a variety of comorbidities, putting patients suffering with this common skin disease at an increased risk for other conditions, such as heart attack and stroke," said lead study author Junko Takeshita, MD, PhD, clinical instructor in the school’s dermatology department, in a press release. "Knowing that psoriasis is tied to other health conditions, it's vital that we have a better understanding of the systemic effects it has on other areas of the body so that we can more closely monitor these patients and provide better and preventative care."

While conducting the trial, the researchers concentrated on a random sample of 9000 patients with confirmed psoriasis. At the conclusion of the study, the investigators determined that the likelihood of a patient having uncontrolled hypertension, defined as blood pressure of at least 140/90, was greatly associated with a diagnosis of psoriasis. Furthermore, the researchers uncovered that the odds of uncontrolled hypertension increased with the severity of the skin condition, so those with moderate or severe psoriasis had the highest risk for hypertension.

"Adding to the currently limited understanding of the effects of comorbid disease on hypertension, our findings have important clinical implications, suggesting a need for more effective management of blood pressure in patients with psoriasis, especially those with more extensive skin involvement,” the authors concluded.

Dr. Takeshita added that the research team’s "hypothesis is that the psoriasis and the inflammation that comes with it are making the hypertension worse, but certainly it could go the other way, and understanding which comes first has important implications for how we care for these patients and our understanding of how these 2 conditions are related."