Overweight kids develop more psoriasis

Obese children at percent higher risk for skin inflammatory and heart diseases

(RxWiki News) Overweight children have a significantly higher prevalence of psoriasis - and they are also at higher risk for heart disease that starts in childhood with higher cholesterol levels.

Children who are overweight are almost 40 percent more likely to have psoriasis than normal weight children, and extremely obese kids are almost 80 percent more likely to develop the chronic inflammatory skin disease.

In addition, among child psoriasis patients, it is four times more likely that overweight kids will suffer more severe and widespread inflammation than normal weight children. More seriously, psoriasis in children may increase cholesterol levels.

"Kids with psoriasis should have weight and cholesterol levels closely monitored."

Corinna Koebnick, PhD, led a study at Kaiser Permanente Southern California to research the link between obesity and psoriasis in children. Using electronic health records of more than 700,000 children, Koebnick's team documented both the extremely higher incidence of psoriasis in overweight children, as well as cholesterol levels in teens with psoriasis that were four to 16 percent higher than teens without the condition - regardless of their weight.

"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," Dr.Koebnick says. "Yet, we know little to nothing about the metabolic risk of psoriasis, especially when combined with obesity in children. We may need to monitor youth with psoriasis more closely for cardiovascular risk factors, especially if they are obese."

Epidemiologic studies have shown that adults with psoriasis are at higher risk of developing metabolic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome and stroke. Researchers note that the children in this study will need to be followed over 30-40 years in order to determine if their increased cardiovascular risk factors develop into major cardiac diseases.

The study was published in the Journal of Pediatrics.

Review Date: 
June 30, 2011