Two to four percent of adults suffer from psoriasis, a common chronic inflammatory disease, in which the irritated skin becomes red and flaky with silver-white scales. A new UK study, published Online First in JAMA’s Archives of Dermatology, has now revealed that psoriasis could be a potential risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).

Rahat S. Azfar, M.D. from Philadelphia’s University of Pennsylvania, and his team obtained data from The Health Improvement Network (THIN) to evaluate the risk of T2DM in 108,132 people with psoriasis, compared with 430,716 participants without psoriasis, aged between 18 to 90 years.

The researchers state:

“The adjusted attributable risk of developing T2DM among 1,000 patients with psoriasis per year is 0.9 extra cases overall, 0.7 cases in those with mild psoriasis, and 3.0 cases in those with severe psoriasis.”

The population-based study also wanted to determine whether those with diabetes and psoriasis were more likely to be prescribed diabetic treatments in comparison with those who had DM but no psoriasis.

They declare: “We observed no difference in use of oral hypoglycemic agents or insulin among patients with mild psoriasis; however, patients with severe psoriasis were more likely to be prescribed oral hypoglycemic agents and had a trend toward being more likely to be prescribed insulin.”

The researchers conclude:

“The data from this study suggest that psoriasis is a risk factor for the development of T2DM and that this relationship is dose dependent, with severe psoriasis conferring a higher risk than mild psoriasis. Mechanistically, this relationship may be driven by chronic inflammation because both psoriasis and T2DM are associated with elevated levels of TH1-driven inflammatory markers, and because several studies have pointed to endogenous insulin resistance in patients with psoriasis.”

Written By Petra Rattue