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Obesity in childhood may lead to psoriasis; psoriasis may lead to heart disease

Obese adolescents have a significantly higher risk of developing psoriasis, and psoriasis may increase risk of cardiovascular disease later in life, according to researchers from Kaiser Permanente. Patients with psoriasis early in life should be monitored for initial signs of heart disease and given treatments to reduce the risk of later heart attacks and stroke, the team reported in the Journal of Pediatrics.

Previous studies have shown that adults with psoriasis have a greater-than-average risk for diabetes, hypertension, heart attack and stroke. Additionally, obesity in adults may increase risk of developing psoriasis. This new study suggests that these same risk factors in adults may be operating in children as well.

The researchers studied more than 700,000 children and found that obese children were 40 percent more likely to have psoriasis than children who were at normal weight. Severely obese children were almost 80 percent more likely to have psoriasis. Those with psoriasis had 4-16 percent higher cholesterol levels than other children with the same weight, which suggests that psoriasis may increase cardiovascular risk.

Children with psoriasis should be monitored closely for the development of cardiovascular risk factors and treatment should be initiated when appropriate, the researchers recommend.

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