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Certain psoriatic arthritis symptoms increase heart disease risk

By Melissa Leavitt

Certain symptoms of psoriatic arthritis could put patients at greater risk for heart disease. 

According to the results of a recent study, people with sacroiliitis may be more likely to develop inflammation of the aorta, which can be a precursor to cardiovascular conditions. Sacroiliitis is inflammation of the sacroiliac joints, which are located where the pelvic bone and the spine meet.

Researchers used advanced imaging technology to test for aortic inflammation and sacroiliitis in people with psoriatic disease. Of the 65 patients included in the study, 27 had psoriatic arthritis, while the rest had psoriasis without joint disease.

People with sacroiliitis had more severe aortic inflammation than those without, and people with the most sacroiliac inflammation also had the most aortic inflammation, the researchers report.

The study, published last month in the journal Arthritis Research and Therapy, is part of the Psoriasis Atherosclerosis and Cardiometabolic Disease Initiative, which studies signs of vascular and metabolic disease in psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Two members of the research team, Nehal Mehta and Haley Naik, have won grants from the National Psoriasis Foundation to support their work.

As the researchers report, cardiovascular disease is a well-known comorbidity of psoriatic disease, and psoriatic arthritis may carry a greater risk of cardiovascular disease than skin psoriasis alone. These findings, they explain, suggest that psoriatic arthritis patients who have sacroiliitis as a feature of their disease may be even more at risk than patients who do not. 

Screening people with psoriatic disease for sacroiliitis could help identify people most at risk for developing cardiovascular disease, the researchers conclude. They suggest that larger studies be conducted to further investigate specific risk factors for psoriatic disease comorbidities.

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