Psoriasis is connected to obesity and type 2 diabetes, according to a new study. A genetic link between psoriasis and obesity has also been suggested from an examination of twins from Denmark.

The chronic skin condition psoriasis is marked by an inflammation of the skin, resulting in itchy red and pink outbreaks.

A common genetic link between psoriasis and obesity has been suggested in the past. The condition has also been associated with various risk factors to health, called metabolic syndrome. This new twin study was undertaken in an effort to determine the role genetics plays in connection between the conditions.

Researchers examined health records from 33,588 twins, of whom 4.2 percent suffered from psoriasis while 1.4 percent were diabetic. Roughly 6.3 percent of the subjects in the study were obese, having body-mass indexes (BMI's) between 30 and 34. The average BMI among the people examined was 24.5.

Examination revealed 4.1 percent of people without diabetes exhibited psoriasis, compared to 7.6 percent of those with diabetes. People with psoriasis were found to be twice as likely as others to suffer from type 2 diabetes. Average BMI's of people with psoriasis were higher than those without the condition, 25 to 24.4.

A total of 720 pairs of twins seen in the study were one member had the skin condition, while the other did not.

"Psoriasis, type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity are strongly associated in adults after taking key confounding factors such as sex, age and smoking into account. Results indicate a common genetic etiology of psoriasis and obesity," researchers determined.

Although there appears to be an association between obesity, the cause of the connection is still unknown. It is possible psoriasis could lead subjects to remain sedentary, leading to obesity and diabetes. Another possibility is that these conditions could fuel skin inflammation, resulting in psoriasis. This may be driven by interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor in blood, driving both obesity and diabetes.

In addition to a possible genetic link, lifestyle factors, including a sedentary lifestyle, excessive consumption of alcohol, and stress can also lead to these medical conditions.

Future research will try to determine how the conditions are linked, in an effort to develop treatment methods for each.

Analysis of the Danish twins study on obesity, type 2 diabetes, and psoriasis was published in the journal JAMA Dermatology.

Image: Mysi Ann | Flickr

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