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Psoriasis, High Blood Pressure May Be Linked
Date:5/20/2011

FRIDAY, May 20 (HealthDay News) -- People who have psoriasis and hypertension are more likely to have more severe high blood pressure, requiring more medications to control it, a new study suggests.

About 4 percent of the U.S. population has psoriasis, which causes itchy, thickened, dry, red patches on the skin.

Researchers from the University of California, Davis Health System examined 835 patients who had psoriasis and hypertension. Their cases were compared with more than 2,400 people who had hypertension but not psoriasis.

The patients with psoriasis were more likely to need the highest level of blood pressure treatment, which relies on a central-acting agent (also known as adrenergic inhibitors) that's used in people whose high blood pressure can't be controlled with conventional medications.

Hypertensive patients with psoriasis were also nearly 20 times more likely to be on four drugs or on a central-acting agent than hypertensive patients without psoriasis.

The study is published online in PLoS One.

The study's authors noted the findings were significant even after other risk factors associated with hypertension, including diabetes, smoking and high cholesterol, were taken into account. The researchers also pointed out it is unlikely that drugs used to treat psoriasis are responsible for the increased severity of hypertension.

"Our study makes a strong case that psoriasis is not just a skin-deep disease," said lead study author Dr. April W. Armstrong, UC Davis assistant clinical professor of dermatology, in a university news release. "We are beginning to find that psoriasis may represent a window into detecting cardiovascular conditions, including hypertension."

Armstrong added that the findings may alert physicians who treat hypertension, a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. "Hypertensive patients who also have psoriasis are likely to need closer monitoring and a mor
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