Psoriasis and the risk of diabetes and hypertension

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This is a report from the US Nurses Health Study II, involved 116, 671 women aged 27 to 44 years followed for 14 years between 1991 to 2005. The objective of the study was to explore the possible link between psoriasis and the risk of diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure). Included in the study were 78,061 women who responded to a question concerning a previous diagnosis of psoriasis, of whom 1813 (2.3%) confirmed a diagnosis. The researchers excluded those women who already had a diagnosis of diabetes and hypertension. During the 14 years if follow-up, a total of 1560 (2%) of women developed diabetes and 15,724 (20%) developed hypertension. The investigators found that women with psoriasis were 63% more likely to develop diabetes and around 17% more likely to develop hypertension, than women without psoriasis.

Comment: This recent study demonstrates - beyond doubt - a strong association between psoriasis and the development of diabetes and hypertension, both of which are major risk factors for cardiovascular disease (heart attack and stroke). Read psoriasis and the heart. This is the most recent of a number of well-conducted trials which show a greatly increased risk for heart disease and diabetes in patients with psoriasis. Future studies are needed to find out whether psoriasis treatment will reduce the risk of diabetes and hypertension. In the meantime patients with psoriasis should adopt a lifestyle which reduces the risk of heart disease; regular physical activity, sensible nutrition and keeping their weight under control. They should also attend their GP for regular checks of blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure.

Qureshi AA, Choi HK, Setty AR, Curhan GC. Psoriasis and the risk of diabetes and hypertension: a prospective study of US female nurses. Arch Dermatol 2009;145:379-82.

Article prepared by:
Dr David Ashton MD PhD
27 April 2009