Psoriasis might lead to diabetes

September 4, 2012 - 06:21

Psoriasis patients face an increased risk of developing diabetes, new study reveals. This and other findings were recently presented at a European heart conference.

Pregnant women who are overweight are more likely to suffer from cardiac fibrillation than others, new study reveals. (Photo: Colourbox)

A new study involving the entire Danish population confirms previous suspicions that psoriasis patients are more likely to develop diabetes than others.

This is one of many Danish research findings that were recently presented at a large international research conference in Munich.

Constantly on the alert

Psoriasis is a condition that causes chronic inflammation and redness of the skin. Like psoriasis, diabetes is characterised by chronic inflammation, which means that the body is constantly on the alert.

“The chronic state of alert might explain why these patients have a greater risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and diabetes,” Dr Ole Ahlehoff of Copenhagen University Hospital said at the large European heart conference organised by the European Society of Cardiology.

Ahlehoff is one of the scientists behind the new study, which includes more than four million Danes, approximately 50,000 of whom suffer from psoriasis. The scientists followed the test subjects for 13 years.

Currently, 125 million people suffer from psoriasis world-wide.

Increased focus on psoriasis patients

The study showed that psoriasis patients were generally at greater risk of developing diabetes than others, and that the risk increased with the severity of the psoriasis.

We found that being overweight increases the risk of cardiac fibrillation in women who appear to be healthy and fertile.
Dr Deniz Karasou

The results were not influenced by such factors as age, sex, socioeconomic status, medicine consumption, or other aspects that may influence the risk of developing diabetes.

“The findings complement earlier research which shows that psoriasis patients are more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases or metabolic disorders,” says Ahlehoff. “We should pay more attention to this large group of patients and make a greater effort to find out which steps can be taken to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.”

Danish research into cardiac fibrillation

Several Danish scientists presented remarkable findings at the European conference in Munich.

One of them was Dr Deniz Karasou of the Danish Centre for Cardiovascular Research, who presented a study which showed that pregnant women who are overweight have an increased risk of developing cardiac fibrillation.

The study involves 271,000 seemingly healthy Danish women between the ages of 20 and 50 who gave birth in the period between 2004 and 2009.

“We found that being overweight increases the risk of cardiac fibrillation in women who appear to be healthy and fertile,” says Karasou.

“The challenges represented by overweight and cardiac fibrillation have clearly grown. They are comparable to epidemics and rise to the top of the list of health-related worries. Strategies that lead to weight loss may also lead to a reduction in the challenges associated with cardiac fibrillation.”

Women have a greater risk of experiencing cardiac fibrillation
The challenges represented by overweight and cardiac fibrillation have clearly grown. They are comparable to epidemics and rise to the top of the list of health-related worries. Strategies that lead to weight loss may also lead to a reduction in the challenges associated with cardiac fibrillation.
Dr Deniz Karasou

Cardiac fibrillation and overweight are among the greatest and most widespread health-related problems in the Western world and both conditions are associated with increased mortality and sickness rates.

Even though young people rarely experience cardiac fibrillation, an increasing number of studies show that genetic disposition, inflammation, sleep apnoea, too much alcohol, and even too much exercise, can make the heartbeat irregular if the patient is overweight.

Another Danish study presented at the conference shows that women over the age of 75 who suffer from cardiac fibrillation are at greater risk of suffering a heart attack than men.

The researchers behind the new Danish studies have used data from the national Danish register to investigate different factors that may influence the risk of cardiac fibrillation.

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Read the Danish version of this article at videnskab.dk

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Translated by
Iben Gøtzsche Thiele

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