People With Severe Psoriasis Nearly Twice at Risk for Diabetes

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Researchers from UC Davis found a strong correlation between people suffering from severe psoriasis and diabetes risk. An analysis of results coming from 27 different studies and involving around 314,000 individuals indicates a link between the skin condition with the blood sugar disorder. The findings are published in the Archives of Dermatology.

Psoriasis is a common skin problem characterized by raised red, flaky and itchy rash. The rash usually is found in the elbows and knees but can often appear anywhere in the body. Some experts believe it to be an autoimmune disease where the body itself regards its own skin as foreign and mounts an inflammatory response.

UC Davis researchers, headed by April Armstrong analyzed data collected from 27 observational studies of patients with psoriasis. Five of the included studies also assessed the incidence of diabetes in the study participants, meaning that the patients were also monitored for developing diabetes during the course of the study which ranged from a period of 10 to 22 years. The other studies assessed the prevalence of diabetes, or how many of the participants already had diabetes at the start of the study. Overall, the researchers analyzed the data from over 314,000 participants with psoriasis and then compared the results with that of 3.7 million individuals without the skin condition.

The results showed that patients suffering from mild psoriasis are more than 1.5 times more likely to develop diabetes than those from the general population. Those who suffered from severe psoriasis are twice as likely to develop diabetes. All but one study that analyzed the incidence of diabetes indicated a link between psoriasis and diabetes.

“Our investigation found a clear association between psoriasis and diabetes,” added Armstrong, assistant professor of Dermatology at UC Davis and principal investigator of the said study. “Patients with psoriasis and their physicians need to be aware of the increased risk of developing diabetes so that patients can be screened regularly and benefit from early treatment.”

While additional research might be needed to further understand the link between psoriasis and diabetes, Armstrong believes that it is the altered immune pathways that come as a result of psoriasis that may make patients more susceptible to developing diabetes. Additional research will also help clarify the potential limiting factors experienced in the current study, such as the factors involving the effect of psoriasis treatments and medications in modulating the risk of diabetes.

Source: University of California – Davis Health System (2012, October 15). People with severe psoriasis nearly twice at risk for diabetes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 17, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2012/10/121015162415.htm
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