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.
The severity of asymptomatic coronary atherosclerosis as measured by CAC scores can be compared in patients with moderate to severe psoriasis, those with diabetes or in healthy controls.
‘Calcification of coronary artery which is a measure of atherosclerosis is higher in people with psoriasis or type 2 diabetes as compared to healthy individuals which can be used for early cardiovascular risk assessment.’
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.