Psoriasis Patients Twice as Likely to Develop Diabetes

Published Online: Friday, November 9, 2012
A meta-analysis of 27 studies involving more than 314,000 people found that patients with severe psoriasis are twice as likely to develop diabetes. Patients with mild cases of psoriasis were determined to be more than 1.5 times more likely to develop the condition than the general public.

Of the studies in the group, 5 assessed the incidence of diabetes in patients with psoriasis, whereas the other studies looked at the prevalence of diabetes in this population. All studies of prevalence and all but 1 study of incidence reported an association between psoriasis and diabetes.

Researchers have long suspected a connection between these 2 conditions. Led by researcher April Armstrong, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at University of California Davis, the researchers hypothesized that the link between the conditions is based on inflammation. “There is evidence that fat cells in psoriasis patients may not function normally. These cells secrete inflammatory substances known as cytokines that increase insulin resistance in the liver and muscles and initiate destruction of insulinproducing cells in the pancreas,” they wrote.

Researchers also noted that many of the immune pathways involved in psoriasis may predispose patients to impaired glucose tolerance.

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