Link between eczema, heart disease questioned

Approximately 7 percent of adults live with atopic dermatitis, one of the most common forms of eczema.
By Amy Wallace  |  June 16, 2017 at 3:42 PM
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June 16 (UPI) -- Researchers at Brown University found that despite previous studies, a common form of eczema does not increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Roughly 7 percent of adults have a common form of eczema known as atopic dermatitis, which has previously been linked to an increased risk for heart disease.

"In our study, people who reported having atopic dermatitis were not at any increased risk for high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, heart attacks or strokes," Dr. Aaron Drucker, an assistant professor of dermatology at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and a physician with the Lifespan Physicians Group, said in a press release.

A new study from Brown University, which was published June 15 in the British Journal of Dermatology, found no association between higher risk of cardiovascular disease and atopic dermatitis.

Researchers analyzed the records of 259,119 adults between age 30 and 74 who participated in the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project.

They found the diagnosis of atopic dermatitis was associated with a 0.79 times reduced risk of stroke, a 0.87 times reduced risk of hypertension, a 0.78 times reduced risk of diabetes and a 0.87 times reduced risk of heart attack.

"It's important to make this clear so it doesn't get misinterpreted: Even though we found lower rates of these outcomes with atopic dermatitis, we are not interpreting that as atopic dermatitis decreasing the risk," Drucker said.

According to researchers, the prior theory that atopic dermatitis might have been linked with cardiovascular disease may have come from the better-substantiated link between psoriasis and cardiovascular disease.

"In response to the increased risk of cardiovascular disease discovered for psoriasis, clinicians and psoriasis patients have been encouraged to more actively screen for and manage cardiovascular disease," Drucker said. "It appears that similar measures may not be warranted for atopic dermatitis."

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