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Risk of Diabetes in Psoriasis

Psoriasis Patients at High Risk of Diabetes

In a research study presented at ESC Congress 2012, patients are at high risk of new-onset diabetes mellitus if they have psoriasis. Around 125 million people (2.5 percent of the world population) across the globe are affected by psoriasis, which is a chronic inflammatory disease. Also, diabetes mellitus puts a person at increased risk for coronary artery disease, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and many other chronic conditions.

According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), approximately 380 million people have diabetes as of 2013, but they predict this number will rise to 590 million by the year 2035. According to the IDF, more people have diabetes who live in low- and middle-income countries. Also, they reported that the greatest number of people with diabetes is those between 40 and 60 years old.

Incidence and Prevalence of Psoriasis

Currently, approximately 7.5 million people in the U.S. have this skin condition, which is around 2.2 percent of the total population. Research studies show that between 15 and 25 percent of people with this condition go on to develop psoriatic arthritis.

Psoriasis is an immune-mediated condition, which affects nearly three percent of the world's population. While it is not contagious, it affects males and females of all ages and ethnicities. However, the prevalence of psoriasis in Caucasians is slightly higher than that of other ethnicities. People sometimes have inflamed lesions that crack open, itch, and bleed. This is a debilitating, chronic issue, and the symptoms are quite difficult to manage.

Study of Danish People Shows Psoriasis is a Risk Factor for Diabetes

Dr. Ole Ahlehoff with Copenhagen University Hospital in Genetofte, Denmark presented research findings at a scientific session. The study involved the entire Danish population. The researchers followed more than four million individuals for 13 years, and of this study group, 50,000 of the participants had psoriasis. The overall rate of new-onset diabetes mellitus was 3.67 related to the population who did not have psoriasis, but it was 6.93 for patients with mild psoriasis and 9.65 for those with severe psoriasis.

The risk of new-onset diabetes mellitus in people with psoriasis was increased. Also the severity of psoriasis tended to be a major factor related to risk. The patients who had severe psoriasis were twice as likely to develop diabetes, and those with mild psoriasis were 1.5 times as likely to acquire new-onset diabetes mellitus when compared to people without the skin condition.

The researchers had to make certain adjustments for potential confounders, which are factors that affect the study results. The confounders included sex, age, socioeconomic status, comorbidity, use of medication, and comorbidity. According to Dr. Ahlehoff, the primary study conclusion was that psoriasis is associated with a higher risk of diabetes mellitus and people who are the highest risk are those with the severe form of this chronic skin disorder.


The results of this study add to the current evidence for increased risk of metabolic diseases and cardiovascular events for patients with psoriasis. More research is needed to increase awareness in this particular group of patients regarding which steps you can take to decrease risk factors for not only diabetes, but cardiovascular disease as well.


European Society of Cardiology (ESC). "Psoriasis patients at high risk of diabetes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 August 2012. Retrieved from:

International Diabetes Federation (2013). Diabetes statistics. Retrieved from:

World Psoriasis Facts (2013). Retrieved from:

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