18 Jan Eczema and Atopic Dermatitis Linked To Increased Cardiovascular Risk
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Jonathan L. Silverberg MD PhD MPH
Assistant Professor in Dermatology, Medical Social Sciences and Preventive Medicine
Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois
Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Silverberg: There is a growing body of literature supporting an association between psoriasis and increased cardiovascular risk. We hypothesized that these associations are not specific to psoriasis. Rather, they likely occur in other chronic inflammatory skin disorders, namely eczema. We studied two large-scale US population-based studies and found that adults with eczema were more likely to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol and were less physically active. In turn, they also have higher rates of obesity, high blood pressure, prediabetes and type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol. Of note, eczema was associated with these disorders even after controlling for smoking, alcohol consumption and physical activity. This suggests that chronic inflammation and/or other factors related to eczema may also drive increased cardiovascular risk.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Silverberg: There are several take home points:
First, smoking, alcohol and physical activity are all modifiable cardiovascular risk factors. Adults with eczema should be screened for these behaviors and clinical interventions should be employed early and often to reduce their excess cardiovascular risk.
Second, better systemic treatments are needed to address the systemic inflammation of moderate to severe eczema. Clinicians should avoid using systemic steroids, which predictably increase weight gain, blood pressure and blood sugar.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Silverberg: Future studies are needed to identify the mechanisms of increased cardiovascular risk in atopic dermatitis and the most effective clinical approaches to reducing this risk. Further, more research is needed for the development of safer and more effective systemic treatments of atopic dermatitis.