In the April 2011 issue of JAMA journal, Archives of Dermatology, a study will be printed connecting psoriasis to metabolic syndrome elements highlighting obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and high total cholesterol and triglycerides as linked features.

There are five types of psoriasis: plaque, guttate, inverse, pustular and erythrodermic. The most common form, plaque psoriasis, is commonly seen as red and white hues of scaly patches appearing on the top first layer of the epidermis. Some patients, though, have no dermatological symptoms.

Although this report will be in print from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of Landspitali University Hospital in Reykjavik, Iceland in 2011, it has been released online this week. This study was supported in part by grants from the National Institute of Health, the Psoriasis Foundation and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Specific metabolic features are linked to psoriasis, but the study makes clear that there is little indication that there is a link between metabolic syndrome as a condition in its entirety.

Thorvardur Jon Love, M.D., of Landspitali University Hospital and associates took the time to examine the association between the two conditions in a study of 6,549 persons with an average age of 39 years and a mean body mass index of 28. The body mass index (BMI), or Quetelet index, is a heuristic measure of body weight based on a person’s weight and height. Though it does not actually measure the percentage of body fat, it is used to estimate a healthy body weight based on a person’s height, assuming an average body composition.

A sizable 40 percent of individuals with psoriasis also had features of the metabolic syndrome, compared with 23 percent among controls.

The authors summarize:

    “In conclusion, these findings from a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults show a doubling in the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome among patients with psoriasis independent of age, sex, race/ethnicity and C-reactive protein levels. Given its associated serious complications, this comorbidity needs to be recognized and taken into account when treating individuals with psoriasis.”

Sixty three percent of these patients demonstrated abdominal stomach obesity while 44 percent showed high triglyceride levels. Triglyceride is the main constituent of vegetable oil and animal fats. High triglyceride levels are defined as at or above 150 milligrams per deciliter, and low HDL levels are defined as less than 40 milligrams per deciliter in men and less than 50 milligrams per deciliter in women.

There was no evidence of the metabolic syndrome in 28 percent of individuals without psoriasis compared with 13 percent of those with psoriasis.

“Prevalence of the Metabolic Syndrome in Psoriasis – Results From the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2003-2006”
Thorvardur Jon Love, MD, MMSc; Abrar A. Qureshi, MD, MPH; Elizabeth Wood Karlson, MD; Joel M. Gelfand, MD, MSCE; Hyon K. Choi, MD, DrPH
Arch Dermatol. Published online December 20, 2010. doi:10.1001/archdermatol.2010.370

Written by Sy Kraft, B.A.