Psoriasis increases risk of type 2 diabetes

Psoriasis increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a study by the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine published in the Archives of Dermatology.

People with severe psoriasis have a 46 percent higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes compared to those without psoriasis. People with mild psoriasis have an 11 percent increased risk of developing diabetes.

Psoriasis is a common inflammatory skin disease that causes skin redness and irritation, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Most sufferers have thick, red skin with flaky, sliver-white patches called scales.

More than 7.5 million Americans suffer from psoriasis, according to UPenn.

An estimated 115,000 additional people will develop diabetes every year as a result of the skin disease, according to UPenn.

Systemic metabolic complications from psoriasis

Previous research by the Perelman School of Medicine found that people with psoriasis are more likely to have metabolic syndrome, high triglycerides, and higher glucose levels, even if they are not overweight or have other common risk factors for these conditions.

“These data suggest that patients with psoriasis are at increased risk for developing diabetes even if they don’t have common risk factors such as obesity," said lead author Joel M. Gelfand, MD, associate professor of dermatology at the Perelman School of Medicine in a UPenn article.

Gelfand recommends that people with psoriasis eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and get routine health screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.

Increased chance of pharmacological treatment

The UPenn research, which studied more than 108,000 people with psoriasis and 430,000 without psoriasis, found that patients with both psoriasis and diabetes were more likely to require pharmacological treatment of diabetes compared to diabetics without psoriasis.

Researchers also recommend that future studies examine the role that psoriasis treatment plays in the development of type 2 diabetes and its complications.

A very common disease

Psoriasis is a non-contagious disease that is most common between the ages of 15 and 35, according to the NIH.

The disease may be inherited and probably occurs when the body’s immune system mistakes healthy cells for dangerous substances. In psoriasis, skin cells grow and rise to the surface faster than normal, so dead skin cells build up on the skin’s surface.

Several factors may trigger an attack or make the condition difficult to treat. These include bacteria or viral infections like strep throad and upper respiratory infections, dry air or dry skin, injury to the skin like cuts, burns and insect bites, some medicines like antimalaria drugs and beta-blockers, stress, too little signlight, too much sunlight, and to much alcohol.

Psoriasis may be severe in people with weakened immune systems. Automimmune disorders, AIDS and chemotherapy may lower a person’s immunity.

Source: University of Pennsylvania, National Institutes of Health

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