Heart Health

28 June 2017

Link between eczema and heart disease disputed

People with a form of eczema called atopic dermatitis may not be more likely to have heart trouble.


Many people struggle with the disfiguring effects of eczema, and it has even been linked to heart disease – but there is some good news.

A new study found no association between higher risk of cardiovascular disease and atopic dermatitis.

According to the South African National Eczema Association (SANEA), dermatitis, also called eczema, refers to superficial, itchy skin inflammation. Acute lesions are red and swollen. Blisters may form which, on breakage, leak fluid leading to the formation of crusts.

A previous Health24 article, advises the following steps for the treatment of eczema:

  • Identify the factors causing or worsening the condition and avoiding them.
  • Reduce or stop itching.
  • Keep the skin moist.
  • Manage the affected skin.

Difference at molecular level

The authors of the new study analysed the medical records of nearly 260 000 Canadians between the ages of 30 and 74.

They found that the 7% with atopic dermatitis "were not at any increased risk for high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart attacks or strokes," said lead author Dr Aaron Drucker. He's an assistant professor of dermatology at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

The study could not determine whether there might be a link between eczema severity and heart disease, Drucker said in a university news release. He added that he is now researching that.

The possibility that eczema and heart disease may be connected probably stems from a better-supported link between the skin disease psoraisis and heart disease, Drucker said.

While eczema and psoriasis are similar in some ways, they are different at the molecular level, which may be why only one appears to be linked to heart disease, he added.

Read more:

Fighting against eczema

Eczema treatments compared

Vitamin D might help kids with eczema