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Giornale Italiano di Dermatologia e Venereologia 2018 October;153(5):659-65

DOI: 10.23736/S0392-0488.18.06040-6

Copyright © 2018 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Psoriasis as a cardiovascular risk factor: updates and algorithmic approach

Emanuele COZZANI 1 , Gian Marco ROSA 2, Martina BURLANDO 1, Aurora PARODI 1

1 Department of Dermatology, San Martino Policlinic, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy; 2 Department of Cardiology, San Martino Policlinic, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy



Although psoriasis is predominantly a chronic inflammatory skin disorder, it has been known to be associated with cardiovascular disease. Patients with psoriasis, particularly with moderate to severe forms, present an increased rate of cardiovascular mortality, myocardial infarction and stroke. However the pathophysiology of the relationship between psoriasis and cardiovascular risk and comorbidities has not yet completely known. Chronic inflammation may be considered a solid link between psoriasis and related cardiovascular events. Several cytokines and inflammatory cells play a pivotal role in the development of psoriatic lesions, resulting in angiogenesis and endothelial dysfunction. Furthermore, the imbalance between oxidative stress and antioxidant mechanisms in psoriatic patients may contribute to explain the pathogenesis of increased reactive oxygen species and the formation of atherosclerotic plaque. Other mechanistic pathways which may be involved in this relationship include cardiovascular effects of medications, a common genetic background and a higher prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors, which are often under-diagnosed and under-treated in psoriatic patients. Indeed, the early detection of specific markers of cardiovascular impairment, such as N-terminal pro B-type natriuretic peptide, homocysteine and YKL-40, may enable psoriatic patients at higher cardiovascular risk to be identified as soon as possible. This review examines the increased cardiovascular risk profile and high prevalence of cardiovascular disease associated with psoriasis, focusing on pathogenic links between psoriasis and atherosclerosis, serological markers of cardiovascular involvement and the implications of antipsoriatic therapies on cardiovascular risk and proposes a flow chart, that every dermatologist should follow to screen psoriatic patients.


KEY WORDS: Psoriasis - Risk factors - Cardiovascular diseases

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