The Link Between Psoriasis and Diabetes?
Over the year’s doctors have begun to notice that people who suffer from severe psoriasis very often develop type 2 diabetes. There also seems to be a genetic relationship between people who have type 1 diabetes and psoriasis. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that affects over 125 million people in the world. Psoriasis is a nondiscriminatory skin condition that affects people of all ages, races and genders. Type 1 diabetes is also and autoimmune disease and type 2 diabetes are in the process of being redefined as an autoimmune disease based on recent scientific findings. Some studies have shown that people with severe psoriasis could be as much as 46 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
What is an Autoimmune Disease?
An autoimmune disease is an illness or disorder that occurs when the body’s own immune system begins to attack healthy cells. In more simple terms, your body thinks it is sick and naturally your immune system tries to fight off the illness. Because the autoimmune disease is only tricking your body to think it is sick the result is that your immune system begins to attack healthy cells. There are actually quite a few autoimmune diseases and some of them may be very familiar to you. In addition to psoriasis and diabetes other autoimmune diseases include; Rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, fibromyalgia, celiac disease and alopecia.
What Causes Psoriasis?
The actual cause of psoriasis is still scientifically unknown. There does seem to be a genetic factor that plays a role in people with psoriasis. In fact, about 33% of all people diagnosed with this autoimmune condition also have a relative that has psoriasis. What makes psoriasis so mysterious is its unpredictability. There are people who may carry the genetic disposition for psoriasis yet never suffer from the skin condition throughout their entire life. Doctors will often refer to psoriasis as having triggers that bring out the disease. These triggers could be as simple as high stress or a severe sunburn to a serious injury or infection in the body. For each person with psoriasis the trigger may be different and can occur at any time during their life.
What is the Link Between Psoriasis and Diabetes?
Some of the studies that have been done relating to the link between psoriasis and type 2 diabetes have had some very large sample sizes. One review had over 300,000 participants and included more than two dozen studies. When you are able to work with a large sample size and find common associations between the two diseases this ultimately makes the findings much stronger. In this specific review, it was determined that there was an underlying physiological link between psoriasis and diabetes. The evidence of this link found that the fat cells in psoriasis patients may not function normally. Instead, these cells secrete inflammatory substances known as cytokines that increase insulin resistance in the liver. These same cytokines can also initiate destruction of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.
The Trigger of Psoriasis
People who may be genetically predisposed for psoriasis, but have not yet seen its onset do not need to be as concerned. The current studies are based on patients that have psoriasis. It’s the autoimmune disease that is causing the cells to malfunction. There have not been any studies done as of yet that shows a link between predisposed individuals who do not have psoriasis and type 2 diabetes.
What You Should Do About the Link Between Psoriasis and Diabetes
If you suffer from psoriasis it is very important that you are working with a primary care doctor that understands this disease. The doctor should be aware of your higher risk for type 2 diabetes and have you screened regularly to detect the disease early. In addition, there are other conditions that doctors should be monitoring. Often people with psoriasis will suffer from hypertension which can cause high blood pressure. It has also been shown that psoriasis patients have higher rates of stroke, heart attacks, and other cardiovascular-related deaths than the general population.
At this time there is no cure for psoriasis. All of the treatments on the market today including over-the-counter and doctor-prescribed drugs are all designed to treat the symptoms of psoriasis and not cure the disease. Because psoriasis is the number one autoimmune disease in the world there are many scientists and doctors working to find a cure. Huge advancements have been made in the past several years and the hope for a cure is getting closer.