People with psoriasis also may develop non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a disorder that causes severe liver complications, researchers reported.
The study, “Relationship Between Psoriasis And Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease,” was published in the journal Gastroenterology Review.
Previous studies have suggested links between psoriasis and health conditions such as obesity and metabolic syndrome that can lead to NAFLD, which can cause liver fibrosis and cirrhosis, and end-stage liver disease.
Metabolic syndrome can lead to heart problems and stroke. Its manifestations include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, excess abdominal fat, and other factors.
Many of those with moderate-to-severe psoriasis also have chronic liver disease, supporting the notion of a link between NAFLD and psoriasis.
To find evidence of a link, researchers studied 250 psoriasis patients. Their mean age was 44 and most were overweight, with an average body-mass index of 24.7 kg/m2).
Patients told the researchers how long they had had psoriasis and whether they had hypertension, dyslipidemia — increased cholesterol — and diabetes. Patients’ height, weight, and waistlines also were measured.
Doctors gave all the patients skin evaluations to confirm psoriasis, and a liver ultrasound to detect signs of NAFLD.
Forty-eight percent of the patients were found to have excess abdominal fat, 96% had high cholesterol, 52.8% hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, 53.6% hypertension, and 44% elevated levels of ALT, an enzyme measure of liver damage.
Almost half the patients, 45.2%, had NAFLD. Those with NAFLD were younger and more obese than those with psoriasis alone. The NAFLD patients, mostly men, also had higher body-mass levels and more metabolic syndrome.
In addition, NAFLD patients had higher fibrosis scores than non-NAFLD patients. None of the NAFLD patients had cirrhosis of the liver, however.
“[NAFLD] is highly prevalent among our cohort of patients with psoriasis, occurring in 45.2% of patients,” the researchers wrote. “Comorbidity of NAFLD is highly associated with psoriasis, which emphasizes that both diseases may develop simultaneously. Healthcare providers should be mindful of this association since early evaluation and diagnosis of NAFLD in patients with psoriasis may play a vital role in alleviating the progression of liver disease.”