Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects 2 to 4 percent of the population and causes thickened scaly patches to accumulate on the skin.
A June 2012 study at the University of Pennsylvania has recently shown that those with psoriasis have increased risk of developing diabetes, particularly those with severe cases of psoriasis.
The University has performed previous studies relating psoriasis to other conditions. Last year researchers found that those with severe psoriasis were at increased risk of having a major cardiovascular event compared to the general population.
This new study compared 108,132 people with psoriasis to 430,716 matched patients without psoriasis.
Those with mild psoriasis had an 11 percent increase in risk of developing diabetes but those with severe psoriasis were found to have a 43 percent risk.
Even in those patients without obesity, a known factor in the development of diabetes, an increased risk was found.
It was also found that those with severe psoriasis were more likely to be on oral medication to treat their diabetes and tended to be patients who moved towards needing injectable insulin.
The researchers hypothesize that since both psoriasis and diabetes are caused by inflammation that they may share a similar response that promotes insulin resistance and drives factors that cause psoriasis.
Lead author Rahat S. Azfar, MD, MSCE, adjunct assistant professor of Dermatology in the Perelman School of Medicine expressed that "In addition to having an increased risk of diabetes, people with psoriasis are more likely to have metabolic syndrome, high triglycerides, and raised glucose levels, even if they are not overweight or have other common risk factors for these conditions."
Dr Michele Green, a dermatologist at Lenox Hill Hospital told Healthday news, that she has observed in her patients that those with obesity tend to have worse cases of psoriasis and diabetes. She felt they go “hand-in-hand”.
Dr Green expressed that it was not that psoriasis seemed to cause diabetes but in her opinion obesity was the root cause in both conditions.