(Reuters Health) – People with psoriasis, a chronic inflammatory disease, may be more likely than others to experience heart attacks and strokes at least in part because inflammation damages their vascular system, a recent study suggests.
The longer people had lived with psoriasis, the more inflammation they had in their blood vessels, the analysis of imaging tests for 190 psoriasis patients found.
“It has been suspected that long-term exposure to low-grade systemic inflammation may increase the risk of cardiovascular events, but the effect of disease duration on the relationship between psoriasis and cardiovascular disease has been unclear,” said lead study author Dr. Alexander Egeberg of Gentofte Hospital in Copenhagen.
Even though plenty of previous research has linked psoriasis to heart disease, the current results offer fresh evidence that living longer with systemic inflammation can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes even for psoriasis patients who don’t have other risk factors for heart disease such as smoking, diabetes or advanced age, Egeberg added.
All of the patients in the imaging portion of the study had mild to moderate psoriasis.
On average, they were around 54 years old and had been living with psoriasis for roughly eight years.
In the separate analysis of the Danish population, researchers followed people for an average of almost five years.
During this period, 152,122 people without psoriasis had major events like a heart attack or stroke, which translates into about 8 people out of every 1,000 in the population each year.
Over that same time, 4,472 people with psoriasis had major events like a heart attack or stroke, which translates into about 11 people out of every 1,000 in the population each year.