What Is Your Skin Trying To Tell You
What Your Skin Is Trying To Tell You About Your Heart Disease Risk
What if looking at your skin could tell you whether or not serious cardiovascular issues are in your future? While connecting those dots isn't quite that simple, new research in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that, out of more than 61,000 adults surveyed, those with the inflammatory skin condition eczema were 48% more likely to deal with high blood pressure, 35% more likely to have adult-onset diabetes, and 29% more likely to have high cholesterol (all risk factors for heart disease) than other adults, even after controlling for factors like exercise and drinking habits.
So what’s the relationship between your skin and the state of your heart? The likely answer is that people with eczema are dealing with such intense, chronic inflammation that its effects are showing up throughout the body, not just on the skin.
While acute inflammation is your body’s natural immune response to invaders, constant deployment of natural killer cells and T cells can actually get in the way of vital functions like digestion and circulation. "It may be that chronic inflammation from eczema directly increases cardiovascular risk," says Jonathan Silverberg, MD, PhD, assistant professor of dermatology and preventative medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
That's not to say that everyone with eczema is going to get cardiovascular disease, Silverberg explains. However, if you do have the skin disorder, it’s important to remember that it’s not just a cosmetic problem. Previous studies have found that more severe eczema symptoms are a sign of greater inflammation, and that they also increase your odds of having other inflammatory conditions.
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