Severe Eczema May Raise Heart Disease Risk

M.A., Health Writer

A diagnosis of severe and active atopic eczema, a.k.a., dermatitis, may moderately increase risk ofcardiovascular disease, conditions that affect your heart and blood vessels. That's the finding of a major new population-based study in the journal The BMJ about a condition that affects up to 10 percent of adults and is on increase.

British researchers looked at more than 387,000 patients, average age 43, who had eczema, along with more than 1,500,000 who didn't. Eczema patients were matched with up to five patients in the same age group and sex who didn't have eczema. Each patient was given a mild, moderate, or severe designation and monitored for approximately five years.

In the largest study ever to assess this relationship, the scientists found that patients with severe atopic asthma had a 20 percent increased risk of stroke; a 40 to 50 percent increased risk of unstable angina, myocardial infarction (heart attack), atrial fibrillation, and death from cardiovascular problems; and a 70 percent increased risk of heart failure. The authors recommend "targeting cardiovascular prevention strategies" in people with severe and predominantly active atopic eczema. If you have eczema, talk to your doctor about your heart health.

Sourced from: The British Medical Journal