Friday, June 10, 2011

Obese children have psoriasis risk

Overweight or obese children have an elevated rate of psoriasis and teens with psoriasis have elevated cholesterol regardless of weight, U.S. researchers say.

Lead author Corinna Koebnick, a research scientist at Kaiser Permanente Southern California's Department of Research & Evaluation in Pasadena, Calif., says psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the skin that often starts early in life and affects more than 7 million Americans.

"This study suggests a link between obesity and psoriasis in children," Koebnick says in a statement. "But our study findings also suggest that the higher heart disease risk for patients with psoriasis starts in childhood in the form of higher cholesterol levels. We may need to monitor youth with psoriasis more closely for cardiovascular risk factors, especially if they are obese."

The study using electronic health records to study 710,949 racially and ethnically diverse children, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, found overweight children were almost 40 percent more likely than normal weight children to have psoriasis, while extremely obese children were almost 80 percent more likely than normal weight children to have psoriasis.

Among youth with psoriasis, it was four times more likely that the psoriasis would be severe or more widespread in obese youth than what was seen in normal weight children, the study says.

Additionally, teens with psoriasis had 4 percent to 16 percent higher cholesterol levels and liver enzymes, regardless of their weight, than youth without this psoriasis, Koebnick says.

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