Obese children have higher risk of psoriasis, elevated blood lipids

May 27, 2011

Children who are overweight or obese have an increased risk of psoriasis, and regardless of body weight, teens with psoriasis have higher blood lipids and liver enzymes, Kaiser Permanente researchers report.

Children who are overweight or obese have an increased risk of psoriasis, and regardless of body weight, teens with psoriasis have higher blood lipids and liver enzymes, Kaiser Permanente researchers report.

The findings, published online in the Journal of Pediatrics, suggest that for patients with psoriasis, a higher risk of cardiovascular disease starts in childhood in the form of higher cholesterol levels.

Both obesity and psoriasis are characterized by chronic low-level inflammation, and epidemiologic studies of adults have shown a link between psoriasis and metabolic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, myocardial infarction, and stroke. To determine whether obesity and cardiovascular risk factors are associated with psoriasis in children and adolescents, researchers extracted data from electronic medical records of 710,949 patients aged 2 to 19 years enrolled in an integrated health plan.

In this racially and ethnically diverse population, obese children were nearly 40% more likely to have psoriasis than their normal-weight peers, and those who were extremely obese were more than 80% likely to have psoriasis. The severity of psoriasis also was associated with body weight. Extremely obese children were 4 times more likely than normal-weight children to have severe or widespread psoriasis.

Among adolescents, those with psoriasis had significantly higher mean total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, and alanine aminotransferase levels than those without psoriasis, independent of body weight.

The findings suggest that psoriasis increases the risk of metabolic disorder in youths as in adults, according to the researchers, and that physicians need to monitor youths with psoriasis more closely for cardiovascular risk factors, especially if they are obese.

Koebnick C, Black MH, Smith N, et al. The association of psoriasis and elevated blood lipids in overweight and obese children. J Pediatr. 2011. Epub ahead of print.