Scientists have found evidence of a “clear association” between type 2 diabetes and the common skin condition psoriasis.
Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the skin, causing red, scaly and often itchy rashes over the surfaces of the scalp, elbows and knees, and was earlier this year identified as a potential risk factor for type 2 diabetes in a UK study.
To investigate this link further, researchers at the University of California, Davis, analysed data from 27 studies involving more than 314,000 patients with psoriasis.
The results showed that patients with mild psoriasis were over 1.5 times more likely to have diabetes than people without the disease, while the risk of diabetes was nearly double for with severe cases of the skin disease.
A link between the two conditions was found in all but one of the studies, and the authors suggested this could be due to altered immune pathways in those with psoriasis.
April Armstrong, assistant professor of dermatology at UC Davis and lead investigator of the study, said: “The large sample size and consistent association between psoriasis and diabetes make these study findings very strong and suggest an underlying physiological link between the two diseases.”
She added: “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 muscle and initiate destruction of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.”
The research appears online in the Archives of Dermatology.

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