Can eczema increase the risk of heart disease?
If people suffer from constant reddening of the skin and flaking of the skin, those affected could be suffering from eczema. Researchers have now found that eczema is not only very uncomfortable, it also increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
In their latest study, scientists from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that people with severe eczema were at higher risk of cardiovascular problems. The doctors published the results of their study in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).
Evidence was previously unclear
It is believed that about ten percent of the population suffer from so-called atopic eczema. The evidence for a possible link between eczema and cardiovascular problems has so far been unclear, study author Dr. Sinéad Langan from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. For this reason, a new study on this topic has now been carried out.
Severe eczema increases the risk of cardiovascular disease
Generally, eczema was associated with a slightly increased risk of cardiovascular effects, the expert added. In people with severe eczema, there was even a very small increase in the risk of premature death from cardiovascular diseases. It is unclear what exactly is behind the connection. It remains unclear whether the symptoms are directly linked or whether the treatments for eczema could play a role, the researchers explain.
Study analyzed data from more than 1.8 million people
The current study is based on data from hospitals and general practitioners. These data came from more than 380,000 adults with atopic eczema. In addition, more than 1.5 million adults without eczema were included in the study. Subjects with eczema were compared with up to five similar participants. Then it was determined whether there was a link between eczema and diseases such as stroke, heart failure and heart attack.
What were the increased risks for people with eczema?
The results of the current study show that people with eczema have a slightly higher risk of non-fatal cardiovascular diseases, which is about 20 percent higher than heart failure and a ten percent higher risk of stroke. However, there was no increased risk of a heart attack or cardiovascular death, the doctors add.
Severe eczema has a stronger impact
However, in people with severe eczema, the risk of heart attack was increased by 41 percent, the increased risk of heart failure was 69 percent, and the risk of stroke was increased by 22 percent. There was also a 38 percent increased risk of premature death from cardiovascular events compared to patients without such eczema.
General practitioners need to be better informed about the risk
People with eczema do not have to panic right away, because the risk of the illnesses identified is still relatively low, stress the doctors. However, the study confirms that people with severe eczema have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Although the reasons for this are unknown and the absolute increase in risk is small, family doctors should be made aware of the results and watch for signs of cardiovascular risk in their eczema patients, the experts explain. (as)