Assessing coronary artery calcium (CAC) is a measure of the severity of atherosclerosis (clogged arteries) and a cornerstone for screening for risk of future cardiac events. The inflammatory skin condition psoriasis has been associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Type 2 diabetes is a high-risk disease associated with increased cardiovascular risk.
So how does the severity of asymptomatic coronary atherosclerosis as measured by CAC scores compare in patients with moderate to severe psoriasis, those with diabetes or in healthy controls?
Nehal N. Mehta, M.D., M.S.C.E., of the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md., and coauthors analyzed data from three studies with a total of 387 individuals in a new article published online by JAMA Dermatology.
Among their findings, the authors report the prevalence of moderate to severe coronary calcification was similar between patients with psoriasis and type 2 diabetes and about five times higher than in healthy control patients.
The study notes its limitations, including a lack of biological data that limit researchers' ability to draw a cause and effect relationship between atherosclerosis and psoriasis.
"These findings warrant early cardiovascular risk assessment and aggressive risk factor modification in those with moderate to severe psoriasis," the study concludes.
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JAMA Dermatology. Published online August 24, 2016. DOI: 10.1001/jamadermatol.2016.2907