What's the Relationship Between Psoriasis and High Blood Pressure?

How psoriasis may raise your risk of high blood pressure and tips to keep your numbers under control.

Medically reviewed in July 2021

About 7.5 million Americans live with psoriasis, a chronic skin disease that causes painful inflammation and itchy flaking. But scaly skin isn’t the only thing that psoriasis sufferers need to watch out for. Those living with severe psoriasis should also keep an eye on their blood pressure numbers.

Research published in JAMA Dermatology in 2015 found that people with severe psoriasis were 48% more likely to have poorly controlled high blood pressure, compared to those without the skin condition. In fact, it appears that the more severe the psoriasis, the harder the high blood pressure is to treat. Over 13,000 adults in the United Kingdom were involved in the study, of which about 10% had psoriasis.  Doctors have known for some time that psoriasis is linked to high blood pressure, as well as heart attacks and strokes. But research hasn’t yet been able to explain why.

“While the exact reasons are not fully understood, there does seem to be an association between psoriasis and hypertension. Studies have not only found that those with psoriasis have a higher risk of developing hypertension, but they also have a greater likelihood of needing more medication to normalize their blood pressure,” said emergency physician Darria Long Gillespie, MD.

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that creates inflammation in the skin and throughout the body. Some researchers speculate that the inflammation damages blood vessels, leading to high blood pressure and other problems, but more research needs to be done.

Tips to keep your blood pressure under control
Whether you already live with high blood pressure or are eager to avoid it, staying in control of your BP numbers is always beneficial for your health. Here are three ways you can keep your blood pressure in check.

  1. Talk to your physician. If you have psoriasis, taking medications to ease your symptoms is also a great way to protect your heart. But know that certain psoriasis meds may raise blood pressure. Your doctor can give you suggestions for which may be safest and best for you—just make sure you know all your treatment options.
  2. Know your risk for high blood pressure. While certain risk factors for high BP can’t be controlled—age, sex, family history and race—​other factors can be managed with healthy lifestyle choices.
  3. Lose those extra pounds. Weight reduction is one of the most significant things you can do to prevent high blood pressure. Not only that, but getting rid of excess weight may also help calm your psoriasis flare-ups – a win-win for both conditions.

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