A recent study evaluated the prevalence of metabolic syndrome and subclinical atherosclerosis in an Indian population with chronic plaque psoriasis, and found a higher prevalence in psoriasis patients when compared to controls.
These findings, published in a study entitled “Prevalence of metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular changes in patients with chronic plaque psoriasis and their correlation with disease severity: A hospital-based cross-sectional study,” were published in Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease caused by an accelerated production of skin cells that often produce red skin patches. A number of genetic and environmental factors have been pinpointed that contribute to the development of psoriasis.
A growing body of evidence suggests a link between psoriasis and metabolic syndrome. On the other hand, metabolic syndrome is ranked as a primary cause of subclinical atherosclerosis, a condition where the artery wall becomes thick as a result of over-proliferation of smooth muscle cells or buildup of white blood cells. As a result, researchers suggest psoriasis patients might also be at risk of developing subclinical atherosclerosis.
In this study, the researchers examined the prevalence of metabolic syndrome and subclinical atherosclerosis in chronic plaque psoriasis patients in an effort to correlate the prevalence of metabolic syndrome with psoriasis severity in India, where little information is available.
A total of 140 patients with chronic plaque psoriasis and 140 controls were included in this hospital-based cross-sectional study. The severity of psoriasis was defined by the severity index (mild, below 10; moderate, 10-14; severe, above 15).
The disease length was categorized by the number of years from disease onset (short, less than a year; intermediate, one to three years; long duration, more than three years).
The patients and controls were subjected to various measurements and tests, including body mass index (BMI); blood pressure; waist circumference; fasting blood sugar; and lipid profile.
Criteria from the modified National Cholesterol Education Program’s Adult Treatment Panel III was used for the diagnosis of the metabolic syndrome, and a systematic cardiac evaluation was then performed on selected groups (30 psoriasis patients and 30 healthy controls).
The results suggested that psoriasis patients had a significantly higher prevalence of metabolic syndrome than the controls (39.3 percent vs. 17.1 percent).
The patients with psoriasis also had an elevated prevalence of hypertension, diabetes, and abdominal obesity, which increased with length and severity of the disease.
Finally, the arteries of the participants were found to be thicker in patients with psoriasis compared to controls (mean 0.61 mm vs. 0.37 mm), indicative of subclinical atherosclerosis in the psoriasis patients.
“There is a significantly higher prevalence of metabolic syndrome in psoriasis patients as compared to controls; the prevalence of metabolic syndrome and its components increases with severity and duration of psoriasis,” the authors wrote. “There is a higher prevalence of subclinical atherosclerosis in patients with psoriasis thus increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.”
“We suggest that patients with moderate to severe psoriasis be screened routinely for metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease and encouraged to correct modifiable cardiovascular risk factors,” they said.
The authors propose validating these results with a larger sample study as this was limited by the relatively small sample size.