Psoriasis sufferers have increased risk for diabetes

By Sheryl Kay • Published: October 23rd, 2012
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Dry, flaky skin patches are unsightly, uncomfortable, and might also indicate a person is suffering from psoriasis, a disease characterized by itchy, painful plaque on the skin.

Previous studies have shown a correlation between psoriasis and heart disease, and new research now indicates there may be a connection with Type 2 diabetes, as well.

In a study published in the Archives of Dermatology, researchers reviewed the medical records of almost 110,000 patients diagnosed with psoriasis. They then compared those records to the medical histories of people who did not have the skin disease. None of the participants in either group had been diagnosed with diabetes at the onset of the study.

Even when external factors like age, weight and high blood pressure were taken into account, the investigators still found that a higher percentage of participants with psoriasis were diagnosed with diabetes during the course of the study. People with mild psoriasis were 11 percent more likely to develop diabetes than people without psoriasis. Among those with the severest form of the skin condition, there was a 46 percent higher risk for developing diabetes compared to patients who did not have psoriasis.

Although researchers could not pinpoint the exact reason for the link, they did note that body-wide inflammation is seen both in people with psoriasis and Type 2 diabetes. Scientists say the chronic inflammation generated by psoriasis might increase the risk of diabetes. The depression and chronic pain sometimes associated with the skin condition could also play a role. Patients with those symptoms may exercise less, increasing their risk for diabetes.

Until a firm link is found, the researchers suggest talking to your doctor if you have psoriasis about other ways to reduce your risks for diabetes. Eating healthy and exercising are great first steps.