Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder more commonly referred to as a skin condition, that is fairly common. It results in irritation and redness of the skin. Thick and red skin that has flaky white patches are a sign of mild plaque psoriasis, the most common form of this condition. While these patches can appear anywhere on the body, they are most often seen on the knees, elbows and the middle of the body.
Psoriasis Plaques: Not Just a Skin Disease
The link between diabetes and psoriasis can be a surprising one when a person already has this skin condition to contend with. As the result of a recent Danish study, people who have psoriasis are reminded that they must take steps to safeguard their health when they have something that seems to be as innocent as a skin condition. This study found that people who have psoriasis – regardless of whether it was mild or severe – are at a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Danish Study Results Correlate with Others
The Danish study, whose findings were released in 2013, revealed the same results as other studies that measured this risk. An earlier study by the University of Pennsylvania in 2012 discovered that those people who have severe psoriasis are twice as likely to get diabetes while those with a more mild case were 11 percent likely to develop it. A surprising realization discovered during this study is that these figures hold true even when an individual does not have any other risk factors for diabetes, such as being overweight, a heavy drinker or a smoker.
Shared Risk Factors
While the research is still ongoing in this subject, there are a number of shared risk factors that have been pinpointed by researchers as possible links between the two. Inflammation that is caused by psoriasis is the number one contributing factor when it comes to a connection between the two conditions. A few other risk factors and conditions that are shared between psoriasis and diabetes include:
- being overweight
- unhealthy eating habits
- cardiovascular disease
- high cholesterol
- high blood pressure
- higher body mass index
How to Stay Healthy with Psoriasis
There is no one size fits all approach when it comes to living with psoriasis. It is important to note that a person who has this common skin condition should be aware of the link between it and Type 2 diabetes. Taking the right steps to reduce the risk factors that have been shown to increase the chances of getting diabetes can help keep an individual healthier.
In addition to applying strategies that can also improve their overall health such as reducing alcohol intake, losing weight, eating a more healthy diet and avoiding or quitting smoking, being proactive with managing their psoriasis will likely put them in a better position when it comes to their health. Following the psoriasis management plan put into place by their doctor can help reduce flares and help prevent psoriasis from spread and becoming more severe.
+Dr.Lee Eberting is a board certified dermatologist who has dedicated her career to research and treatment of skin ailments. She writes regularly at cherylleemd.com