Psoriasis Risk Tied to High Blood Pressure in Women

High blood pressure and beta blocker medication to treat it tied to risk of psoriasis

(RxWiki News) The health of your heart and that of your skin may not seem that connected, but the authors of a new study suggest that for some women, the two may be intertwined.

This new study explored rates of the skin condition psoriasis in women with hypertension, or high blood pressure.

The study found that women who had high blood pressure for more than six years had a greater risk for developing psoriasis.

"Keep your heart healthy by finding ways to stay active."

In psoriasis, a condition thought by many to be tied to the immune system, the skin can become chronically red, itchy and flaky.

According to the authors of this new study, which was led by Shaowei Wu, MD, PhD, of the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, high blood pressure in women has previously been linked to an increased risk for psoriasis.

Dr. Wu and colleagues wanted to explore this possible increased risk and whether a certain type of high blood pressure medication called beta-blockers played a role in this link.

To do so, Dr. Wu and team used data from the 1996-2008 Nurses’ Health Study, which provided health information on 77,728 female nurses in the US. 

Among the participants, 843 cases of psoriasis and 29,831 cases of high blood pressure were identified.

After analyzing the data, Dr. Wu and team found that women who had high blood pressure for six years or more — whether or not they were using medication for the condition — had a 1.27 times higher risk of psoriasis than women without hypertension.

Among women with hypertension who were regularly using beta-blockers for six years or more, the risk for psoriasis was even greater. These women had a 1.39 times higher risk than that of women who had not used the medications.

"These findings provide novel insights into the association among hypertension, antihypertensive medications and psoriasis," Dr. Wu and team wrote. "However, further work is necessary to confirm our findings and clarify the biological mechanisms that underlie these associations.”

It is important to note that participants' health information and diagnosis history was provided by self-reports from the women. Further research among a more diverse group of participants is needed.

This study was published online July 2 in JAMA Dermatology. Funding for the study was provided by the National Institutes of Health.

One study author reported serving as a consultant for a number of organizations, including Abbott, Novartis and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Review Date: 
July 1, 2014