Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that affects about 125 million people worldwide. It’s a chronic inflammatory condition that causes raised, red, scaly patches on the skin. Psoriasis may raise the risk of diabetes; people with psoriasis are 56% more likely to develop diabetes than people without psoriasis.
A Danish study compared more than 52,000 adults and children aged 10 and older who had psoriasis and found that people with psoriasis had a higher risk of getting Type 2 diabetes compared to people without psoriasis. The chances of diabetes were proportional to the severity of psoriasis.
Another study was conducted in University of Pennsylvania, where researchers compared 100,000 people who had psoriasis to 430,000 people without it. Results revealed that people with severe psoriasis were twice as likely to develop Type 2 diabetes as people without psoriasis. The risk was persistent even in psoriatic people who did not have any other diabetes risk factors, such as obesity.
The dry, flaky skin in psoriasis is a result of a rapid buildup of skin cells, triggered by inflammatory chemicals. Like psoriasis, diabetes also shares an underlying inflammatory process. The inflammation caused by psoriasis raises the level of an insulin-like growth factor which is also linked to diabetes. In addition, psoriasis is linked with insulin resistance, obesity, heart attack, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol similar to diabetes. Thus, all above makes sense that psoriasis would be a risk factor for new-onset diabetes.
According to another study, people with psoriasis have lower insulin sensitivity that suggests psoriasis may be a pre-diabetic condition. This may be due to the fact that diabetes and psoriasis may have similar genetic risk factors. Other explanation suggests that people with either of these diseases have increased levels of cytokines, or proteins that can lead to inflammation. In addition to a possible genetic link, lifestyle factors, including a sedentary lifestyle, excessive consumption of alcohol, and stress can also lead to these medical conditions.
For people with psoriasis, there is an increased risk of developing diabetes. To reduce the risk, make necessary changes in your lifestyle, reduce weight if you are overweight, reduce stress, take good care of your skin and eat healthy foods.