Psoriasis and Type 2 Diabetes, What's the Connection?

2012-06-18 17:36

Psoriasis is an inflammatory disease that affects the skin while type 2 diabetes is a condition characterized by high levels of sugar in the bloodstream. On the surface, there doesn't appear to be a connection between these two conditions, yet a new study suggests that psoriasis is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

Why is psoriasis a risk factor for diabetes?

Psoriasis is a chronic condition that typically causes red, raised patches of silver-white patches of dead skin cells to appear anywhere on the body, although it can also manifest as smooth, bright-red lesions or blisters. As many as 7.5 million Americans have psoriasis, which is the most common autoimmune disease in the United States.

Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which the body either does not produce enough insulin or the cells cannot properly utilize the insulin. The task of insulin is to transport sugar (glucose) from the bloodstream into the cells. So far, nothing suggests psoriasis and type 2 diabetes have a connection.

However, results of a study from the United Kingdom indicate that having psoriasis may be a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, and that having severe psoriasis is associated with a greater risk than is a mild form of the disease. To come to that conclusion, the study's authors used data from The Health Improvement Network.

The Network data involved 108,132 individuals with psoriasis and 430,716 patients without it. Participants ranged in age from 18 to 90 years.

An evaluation of the data indicated having psoriasis is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Why? According to the study's authors, "Mechanistically, this relationship may be driven by chronic inflammation because both psoriasis and T2DM [type 2 diabetes] are associated with elevated levels of Th1-driven inflammatory markers, and because several studies have pointed to endogenous insulin resistance in patients with psoriasis."


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