Severe psoriasis linked to greater risk of type 2 diabetes

| Melissa Leavitt

People with severe psoriasis may be at a greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes, according to the results of a new study.

The study, published last month in the journal Circulation, also found that people with severe psoriasis may have a higher chance of developing heart disease.

Using a large database of health records from the United Kingdom, researchers evaluated the risk of coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus, as well as stroke, among people with a range of chronic inflammatory diseases, including psoriasis.

Results indicate that “severe psoriasis was associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus and coronary heart disease,” the authors write.

The study included 85,232 people with mild psoriasis, and 5,648 people with severe psoriasis. Patients taking systemic medications were identified as having severe psoriasis. The average age for all psoriasis patients was late 40s, with an almost equal gender balance. Researchers studied patients over 11 years, from 2002 to 2013.

People with severe psoriasis were found to have a 30 percent greater risk for developing diabetes, and a 29 percent greater risk for developing heart disease. People with mild psoriasis had a 17 percent greater risk for developing diabetes, and a 3 percent greater chance of developing heart disease. This 3 percent difference is not considered to be statistically significant.

Researchers also found that higher levels of inflammation increased risk for developing these these conditions, known as comorbidities. Inflammation was measured by testing blood levels of C-reactive protein, which is increased under inflammatory conditions.

According to the authors, the study largely confirmed previous findings regarding cardiovascular risk. But unlike many other studies, the authors note, this study evaluated patients’ risk for developing multiple comorbidities, instead of focusing, for instance, just on heart disease. Considering multiple outcomes helped reveal the association between diabetes and psoriasis.

“If participants are considered to be at risk of multiple outcomes, psoriasis emerges as being strongly associated with cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus events,” the authors write.

The researchers recommend that doctors address patients’ risk for heart disease and diabetes when treating them for inflammatory diseases, and suggest that C-reactive protein levels be measured to identify patients most at risk for developing these comorbidities.


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For more than 50 years, we’ve been driving efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected. But there’s still plenty to do! Learn how you can help our advocacy team shape the laws and policies that affect people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – in your state and across the country. Help us raise funds to support research by joining Team NPF, where you can walk, run, cycle, play bingo or create your own fundraising event. If you or someone you love needs free, personalized support for living a healthier life with psoriatic disease, contact our Patient Navigation Center. And keep the National Psoriasis Foundation going strong by making a donation today. Together, we will find a cure.

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