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Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease that causes itchy red plaques on the skin's surface and affects about 7.5 million people in the United States alone. In severe cases large areas of the body can be affected, and it can bring arthritis, depression and other problems.

In the April issue of Archives of Dermatology, Dr. Abrar Qureshi of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston wrote that psoriasis is a condition that should be looked at as a systemic disorder, rather than simply a skin disease. In his study, he found that women suffering from psoriasis ran a higher risk of diabetes and high blood pressure possibly because of the underlying inflammation that causes the skin condition.

The researchers looked at data from thousands of female U.S. nurses who enrolled in a study in 1991 and have been checked periodically for numerous health-related issues. 1,813 women were diagnosed with psoriasis over a 14-year period and they were 63 % more likely to develop diabetes and 17 % more likely to develop hypertension than those who were psoriasis-free. The team said that the inflammation could lead to high blood pressure and could also be a factor in insulin resistance, a pre-diabetic condition.

The link existed regardless of the women’s weight, age and their smoking habits. While other studies have linked psoriasis to diabetes and hypertension, factors like obesity and smoking have variously been blamed.

Since the study was restricted to white women, the findings could not be generalized to men or to other races.

Systemic steroid therapy for psoriasis could foster diabetes or hypertension but such treatment is not the standard for care in the United States, and further more patients often abandon steroid creams after short periods of time.


Interesting post.