Psoriatic arthritis patients are at a higher risk of heart disease, according to research findings. The study found that patients with psoriatic arthritis are three to four times more likely to develop plaque along the arteries—known as atherosclerosis—which increases the risk of heart attack.
It’s important that doctors identify patients at risk for plaque in the arteries so they can provide patients with useful prevention tips to lower their risk of heart attack.
Psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis do go together, but that doesn’t mean that all psoriasis patients will go on to develop this type of arthritis.
The study found that, compared to patients without psoriatic arthritis, those with this type of arthritis had a 68 percent higher risk of heart attack and a 43 percent higher risk of death. Although the researchers determined the link, it is not fully understood why this relationship exists.
The researchers utilized CT scans in order to look at various arteries in the hearts of the patients. The researchers evaluated 90 psoriatic arthritis patients, along with 205 individuals without the condition, but with other risk factors for atherosclerosis.
The psoriatic arthritis patients who were not previously diagnosed with heart disease had significantly higher amounts of plaque of all kinds. These different types of plaque are known to increase the risk of arteries rupturing and of heart attack.
Out of the 90 psoriatic arthritis patients, 60 percent had at least one coronary plaque, compared to only 35 percent of the controls. Additionally, the researchers uncovered three-vessel disease in 13 percent of the psoriatic arthritis patients, compared to only three percent of the control group.
If doctors learn to spot the risk factors of heart disease among psoriatic arthritis patients sooner, then they can inform their patients of prevention tips so they can lower their risk of a heart-related event. This includes both medical and lifestyle interventions.
The researchers also speculate that the same findings may apply to patients with other types of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis.
Further studies are required to better understand the link between psoriatic arthritis and heart disease risk.
Related: Psoriatic arthritis risk higher in psoriasis patients with bone and joint injuries: Study