Question: Is Helicobacter pylori associated with any diseases outside the gastrointestinal tract in humans?
Yes. Many studies report an association between H. pylori and ischemic heart disease. Although the studies vary in methods and results, there appears to be a small but consistent excessive risk of ischemic heart disease in patients infected with H. pylori. It is theorized that higher serum cytokine levels induced by H. pylori infection lead to increased systemic inflammatory responses and atherosclerosis. Idiopathic chronic urticaria, as well as acne rosacea and alopecia areata, have been linked to H. pylori infection. In some patients, urticaria has improved with the eradication of H. pylori, but the results with alopecia and rosacea are less striking. Raynaud’s phenomenon and migraine headaches have been observed to improve with treatment of H. pylori, although no controlled studies have been performed in these or any other extraintestinal conditions.
Reference: Gasbarrini A, Franceschi F, Armuzzi A, et al: Extra digestive manifestations of Helicobacter pylori gastric infection. Gut 45(Suppl 1):I9-I12, 1999.