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17-11-2011 | Article

Psoriasis patients face heightened risk for diabetes, high blood pressure


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MedWire News: People with the skin condition psoriasis are prone to developing diabetes and high blood pressure, research suggests.

This is important because diabetes and high blood pressure predispose people to developing heart disease, including potentially fatal heart attacks, says the team that performed the study.

Dr Ata Abbasi (Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Iran) and fellow researchers recruited 604 people into their study, just over half of whom had psoriasis. This is a disease of the body's immune system that causes the skin to become flaky, itchy, and scaly.

All the participants were tested to see if they had diabetes mellitus or any of the metabolic abnormalities that make up the "metabolic syndrome" - namely, abdominal obesity, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and high fasting blood sugar levels.

The metabolic syndrome is important because it is associated with a markedly increased risk for heart disease and stroke.

Dr Abbasi's team found that the patients with psoriasis were much more likely to have diabetes or high blood pressure than people without the skin condition. This finding held true after accounting for potentially confounding factors.

They also found that women with psoriasis had a particularly high likelihood for developing diabetes, whereas men with psoriasis were at lower risk. By contrast, the risk for diabetes was the same in men and women without psoriasis.

The researchers suggest that psoriasis and diabetes may share an underlying cause, such as inflammation. Inflammation and the body's inflammatory response are risk factors for diabetes, atherosclerosis, and heart disease, they note.

They conclude: "Psoriatic patients have an increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome and hypertension in comparison to nonpsoriatic patients."

The study is published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Joanna Lyford