Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Psoriasis May Be a Risk Factor for Diabetes recently published an article reporting that patients with psoriasis may be at an increased risk for Type 2 diabetes over the general population and that the risk is highest in patients with severe psoriasis. The study referred to in this article was conducted by Dr. Ole Ahlehoff from Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte.

Psoriasis is a common skin disease that affects the life cycle of skin cells. Psoriasis causes cells to build up on the surface of the skin, resulting in itchy, red patches that are sometimes painful. Cases of psoriasis can range from mild to severe and can affect different areas of the body, including the scalp, nails, underarms and groin.

According to the article, patients with mild psoriasis have an increased risk for Type 2 diabetes of 49% over the general population. In addition, those patients diagnosed with severe psoriasis are more than twice as likely to also be diagnosed with diabetes. These are startling findings, especially considering that there are approximately 125 million reported cases of psoriasis worldwide.

“Diabetes and psoriasis share an underlying inflammatory process and an abundance of risk factors, and therefore, it is not surprising that psoriasis has been proposed as a risk factor for new onset diabetes,” said Dr. Ahlehoff, who announced the results of this study at the European Society of Cardiology meeting; the study’s results are detailed here.

“Screening for diabetes and cardiovascular risk factors in patients with psoriasis is warranted,” Dr. Ahlehoff concludes. He suggests that a yearly screening should be sufficient.

While the cause of psoriasis is not fully known, researchers suspect that it is related to the immune system and how it reacts to the environment. Some triggers have been identified and should be avoided if possible. These include: infections such as strep throat, injuries to the skin including cuts, scrapes and bug bites, stress, cold weather and heavy alcohol consumption.

In some cases, psoriasis may be more of a nuisance than a major health concern; however, this is a disease that can often lead to joint problems and now, possibly Type 2 diabetes. Even in the mildest cases of psoriasis, it is important to consult with a medical professional. If you think you may have psoriasis or would like more information, I encourage you to call us at 864-242-5872 to schedule your appointment.

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