News & Commentary

3 Conditions Linked To Heart Problems

Let’s start with the familiar caveat: More research is needed. Nonetheless, three studies that conclude in that way offer interesting insights into what three conditions may contribute to heart problems.

The studies look at links to psoriasis, arthritis, and depression.

A preliminary study presented last month at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) says that “the more body surface area that is affected by psoriasis, the higher the likelihood that the patient will have metabolic syndrome — a group of cardiovascular risk factors of obesity, hypertension, insulin resistance and increased triglycerides,” according to a statement by the AAD.

About 7 million Americans suffer from psoriasis, but 3 million of them may not be aware of it. Psoriasis patients have a specific kind of LDL cholesterol that is “more likely to promote hardening of the arteries and promote heart attacks,” the ADA says.

The AAD cites one study that says that patients with severe psoriasis die about five years earlier than those without, and 50 percent of those deaths are because of cardiovascular disease.

Meanwhile, a study in the Annals of Rheumatic Disease finds that women with hypothyroidism and inflammatory arthritis have nearly four times the chance of developing heart disease as do women without those conditions.

Hennie G. Raterman and colleagues, of the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, looked at 175,000 patients and found that “after adjustment for age, hypertension, diabetes, and hypercholesterolemia, women with hypothyroidism plus inflammatory arthritis had an odds ratio of 3.72 for heart disease, compared with controls. . . .”

Then, there’s the study in Copenhagen that says that the risk of mortality increases in patients who are depressed and who have gotten stent implants.

“The main finding is that patients who are depressed after coronary artery stenting have a worse prognosis,” says Nikki Damen, lead researcher. “They die earlier than nondepressed patients.”

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