High blood pressure, or hypertension, is definitely a problem in the U.S. A whopping 31% of American adults have high blood pressure. It is interesting to note that in younger adults, men are more likely to suffer with high blood pressure, and in older adults, women are more likely to have it.
However, there is new research that was conducted at Brown University and published in JAMA Dermatology that suggests that women who have high blood pressure have something to deal with that men may not; women have an increased risk of getting psoriasis.
What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a skin disease that affects about 3% of the American population. It is a disorder of the immune system that results in the skin producing a red, raised rash that occurs in patches. This rash can be itchy and painful. An increased risk of developing the disorder has already been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and depression, and now for women, high blood pressure can be added to the list.
Medication Plays a Role
According to the research, which included the study of women who work in the health care field, women who have had high blood pressure for at least six years are 27% more likely to develop psoriasis than women without high blood pressure.
If you throw high blood pressure medication into the mix, then the risk increases even more. Of particular concern are beta-blockers. Women who take this type of medication are 40% more likely to develop psoriasis. This medication can also cause a worsening of psoriasis symptoms in women who already have the disorder.
Beta-blockers include medications such as the generic drugs Propranolol, Acebutolol, Atenolol, Metoprolol, and Nadolol. Their brand name equivalents are Inderal, Sectral, Tenormin, Lopressor/Betaloc, and Corgard, respectively. Researchers cannot say for certain if the medication is a direct cause, but that the medication might have a secondary effect on the immune system, causing the skin disorder to occur.
What Women Should Do
There is no guarantee that women who have psoriasis and high blood pressure would experience an improvement of psoriasis symptoms if they were to switch to a different type of high blood pressure medication, such as Captopril, Lisinopril, or Valsartan.
If you find that you have high blood pressure and have developed psoriasis, then talk to your doctor, who will help you decide if it is worth trying to change to a different high blood pressure medication. In addition, if you are a woman who has psoriasis and have not been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you should be screened for it.
Regardless of whether you try to change prescription drugs or not, if you develop psoriasis and have high blood pressure, you now have two conditions to manage. This means that you should always remain in close contact with your doctor and your dermatologist, who will work together to monitor your conditions and help you manage them. In the meantime, research will continue to confirm the original findings and see if the condition also affects men.