Psoriasis and High Blood Pressure: The Surprising Link You Need to Know About

If you are suffering from moderate to severe psoriasis, it’s essential to be aware that you could be at an increased risk of uncontrolled high blood pressure. A study published in JAMA Dermatology collected data from over 13,000 adults in the United Kingdom and discovered that individuals with severe psoriasis were 48 percent more likely to have uncontrolled high blood pressure than those without the skin condition. This risk is present even for people who are actively seeing doctors and have been diagnosed with high blood pressure. If you have psoriasis, it might be more challenging to keep your blood pressure numbers under control.

Understanding Psoriasis

Although psoriasis is often viewed as a minor skin condition, it’s essential to realize that it is actually a chronic disease of the immune system. The exact cause is still unknown. However, researchers believe that the immune system mistakenly activates an action in skin cells that speeds up their growth cycles.

There are five primary types of psoriasis. The most common form is plaque psoriasis, which causes symptoms such as itchy skin spots, red patches, and thick flaky lesions. Although psoriasis is a skin condition, it’s crucial to understand that it could have a broader impact on your overall health, including cardiovascular health.

Psoriasis and Cardiovascular Health

The study mentioned previously is the first to confirm an association between psoriasis and cardiovascular health. However, the specific link between the two is still uncertain. Dr. Junko Takeshita, a study leader and clinical instructor of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, acknowledges that experts don’t fully understand why cardiovascular risk factors are more prevalent among individuals with psoriasis.

However, one suspected correlation is chronic inflammation. Researchers theorize that chronic inflammation in blood vessels might contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Similarly, the attack of healthy skin cells in individuals suffering from psoriasis may also cause chronic inflammation.

The Importance of Awareness and Management

The findings from this study are vital, as they highlight the additional cardiovascular risks faced by people with psoriasis. Dr. Jerry Bagel, a member of the National Psoriasis Foundation medical board and director of the Psoriasis Treatment Center of Central New Jersey, emphasizes the importance of primary care doctors being aware of their psoriasis patients’ increased risk of uncontrolled hypertension.

It’s essential for individuals suffering from moderate to severe psoriasis to be proactive in managing their overall health and discussing potential cardiovascular risks with their doctors. This conversation should include talking about the importance of staying on top of blood pressure management, even if you have already been diagnosed with hypertension.

Tips for Managing High Blood Pressure

Here are some helpful tips for managing high blood pressure, whether you have psoriasis or not:

  1. Exercise regularly: Consistent physical activity can help lower your blood pressure. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.
  2. Maintain a healthy diet: Choose a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products. Limit your intake of saturated fats and cholesterol.
  3. Monitor your sodium intake: Reducing your sodium intake can help lower your blood pressure. Aim to consume less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day.
  4. Limit alcohol consumption: Drinking alcohol in moderation can potentially lower your blood pressure. However, regularly consuming too much can increase your blood pressure.
  5. Manage stress: Consistently high stress levels can contribute to high blood pressure. Learn healthy ways to cope with stress, such as meditation or deep breathing exercises.
  6. Quit smoking: Cigarette smoking can temporarily raise your blood pressure, and quitting can help lower it.
  7. Take your medications as prescribed: Be sure to take any prescribed blood pressure medications as directed by your doctor. And, be sure to speak with your physician before making any changes to your medications.

In conclusion, individuals with psoriasis should be aware of the increased risk of high blood pressure and uncontrolled hypertension. It’s essential to speak with your doctors about any potential cardiovascular risks, manage your overall health proactively, and maintain healthy habits to manage your blood pressure effectively. Implementing these healthy habits will not only benefit your cardiovascular health but will also positively impact your life overall.