Men tend to get more severe psoriasis

April 4, 2017 - 06:20

A Swedish study shows that more men than women suffer severe psoriasis.

Psoriasis does not afflict everyone the same. New research has also turned up evidence of degrees if severity linked to gender. (Photo: Lipowski Milan / Shutterstock / NTB scanpix)

Psoriasis is a skin disease linked to a dysfunction of the immune system. The body’s defence attacks healthy cells rather than ones that pose a threat.

In most diseases of this kind, women tend to be harder hit than men. But the opposite seems to be true for psoriasis.

Men represent over half of everyone in the national registry for systemic treatment of psoriasis in Sweden (PsoReg) and receive both more care and stronger forms of treatment.

Are men more disposed toward this particular autoimmune disease?

Researchers at Umeå University and Karolinska Institute have looked into this question.

Worse for men

David Hägg and his colleagues used data covering nearly 5,500 patients in PsoReg. They analysed objective information about the severity of the skin disease among both men and women. 

The results confirmed that men are more often severely affected.

This could explain why men are more likely to receive systemic treatment, in other words, medications that work throughout the body, write the researchers in the latest issue of the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology.

Associated with other diseases

Hägg and colleagues deem it important to bear this information in mind in future treatment of psoriasis and the diseases which are often associated with it.

Earlier research has shown that psoriasis is linked to a larger risk of other ailments such as arthritis and inflammatory gastrointestinal disorders. People with psoriasis also tend to be more prone to suffer diabetes 2. 

The researchers warn of certain possible shortcomings to their study. There is a theoretical chance that the selection of persons in the Swedish register is skewed, for instance if women with severe psoriasis for some reason have been less frequently entered into the register.

However, the researchers don’t think this is very likely.

They conclude that research on this gender disparity in psoriasis cases and severity should be conducted to see if it is found in other countries and populations.

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Read the Norwegian version of this article at forskning.no

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Translated by
Glenn Ostling

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