Skip to main content

21-06-2012 | Article

Psoriasis linked to increased diabetes risk


Free full text

MedWire News: People with psoriasis are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than those without the skin condition, results from a US study show.

Furthermore, the researchers found that people with severe psoriasis were more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than those with mild psoriasis.

"These findings… suggest that patients with psoriasis should be encouraged to lower their risk of diabetes mellitus and its complications by undergoing therapeutic lifestyle changes and appropriate screenings for signs of insulin resistance," say Dr Rahat Azfar, from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and team.

Psoriasis is a common inflammatory skin disease that results in thick, inflamed, scaly patches of skin. It has previously been associated with an increased risk for heart attacks, stroke, and the metabolic syndrome.

Dr Azfar and his team compared Type 2 diabetes rates between 108,132 patients with psoriasis and 430,716 patients without the skin condition.

After accounting for known diabetes risk factors, such as increased body mass index, as well as age, gender, smoking, and alcohol intake, the team found that, overall, patients with psoriasis were 14% more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than those without psoriasis.

The researchers also found that the risk for diabetes increased with psoriasis severity. Indeed, patients with mild psoriasis had an 11% increased risk for Type 2 diabetes while those with severe psoriasis had a 46% increased risk, compared with people without psoriasis.

The team suggests that high levels of body-wide inflammation common to both psoriasis and diabetes may explain the link between the disorders.

In an accompanying press statement, senior author Dr Joel Gelfand, also from the University of Pennsylvania, commented: "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."

He advised that "patients with psoriasis should eat a healthy diet, get regular exercise, and see their physician for routine preventative health screenings such as checks of blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar."

The findings are published in the Archives of Dermatology.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Mark Cowen