Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a form of arthritis that may affect some people with psoriasis. Increasing evidence indicates that people with PsA have a higher risk of high blood pressure, hypertension, and other potential complications relating to heart health.

PsA is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune condition that affects roughly 30% of people with psoriasis, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation.

It may lead to systemic inflammation, meaning inflammation that affects the whole body. This body-wide inflammation can in turn affect blood vessels and result in high blood pressure, or hypertension.

In this article, we will discuss the association between PsA and high blood pressure. We will also look at how a person can reduce their risk of hypertension and heart disease.

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Hypertension is common in people living with PsA. It refers to persistently increased pressure in the blood vessels. As this pressure increases, it causes the heart to pump harder to supply the body with blood.

High blood pressure can lead to heart damage by hardening arteries and decreasing blood and oxygen flow to the heart. High blood pressure is a severe medical condition that can cause health complications and increase the risk of heart disease.

While more research is necessary, existing evidence suggests that high blood pressure is higher in those with PsA than in people with psoriasis or the general public. This may be due to the higher inflammatory burden resulting from PsA that can damage blood vessels and increase blood pressure.

These findings are consistent with a 2019 review highlighting the prevalence of high blood pressure in people with PsA and suggest it may be more common with more severe psoriatic disease.

The authors of a 2021 study also found that high blood pressure was the most common comorbid condition in severe PsA.

Additionally, a 2020 study indicates that high blood pressure is the most prevalent risk factor for cardiovascular disease in people with PsA.

Health experts previously identified that chronic inflammation is a risk factor for heart disease. While researchers were aware of the links between psoriasis and arthritis and heart disease, emerging evidence highlights the association with PsA.

A 2016 meta-analysis notes a 43% increased risk of cardiovascular conditions in those with PsA, compared with the general population.

Moreover, a 2019 study reports that people with PsA were more likely to have other potential risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, and high fat levels in the blood.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions that may increase the risk of heart disease. An older 2014 study found that these conditions were present in 44% of people with PsA.

The authors of a 2015 meta-analysis also observed a high prevalence of high blood pressure and other features of metabolic syndrome in people with PsA. Furthermore, they note that there is a link between PsA and many markers of cardiovascular risks, such as atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is the narrowing of the arteries due to a buildup of plaque.

Learn more about PsA and heart disease here.

PsA itself can produce a number of symptoms, including swelling and pain in the joints, stiffness, and changes to the nails. There are also many complications and comorbid conditions that may relate to PsA.

Most people who develop PsA already have psoriasis, but it is possible to develop it without having psoriasis first. Psoriasis is an autoimmune skin condition resulting in thick, scaly plaques that may itch or cause discomfort.

While the complications may depend on the location and severity of symptoms, other conditions health experts associate with PsA may include:

Learn more about how PsA can affect the body here.

Although high blood pressure is common among people with PsA, it is a modifiable risk factor. This means that people can make dietary and lifestyle changes to lower their blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Additionally, many of the steps people can take to reduce their blood pressure can also play a key role in managing PsA. Some of these changes could include:

Learn more about ways to quickly and naturally lower blood pressure.

Although high blood pressure does not typically present with symptoms, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), people should check their blood pressure if they notice symptoms such as:

The only way to diagnose high blood pressure is to check blood pressure regularly. For this reason, it is essential for people with PsA to monitor their blood pressure routinely. If a person’s blood pressure is consistently above 140/90 millimeters of mercury, it may indicate hypertension.

If a person experiences these symptoms or has high blood pressure readings, they should seek medical help.

High blood pressure is common in people with PsA and is likely due to the condition causing inflammation throughout the body. This inflammation can result in blood pushing harder than normal against the walls of the arteries, increasing blood pressure.

High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease. People can make lifestyle and dietary changes to manage PsA and high blood pressure, including getting regular exercise, following a balanced diet, and reaching or maintaining a moderate weight.