An emerging topic in the dermatology world on psoriasis is its link to systemic diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity. As a dermatologist, I am trying to educate my psoriasis patients on these issues so that they can work closely with their primary care doctors in trying to prevent severe complications related to these systemic diseases.
The severity of psoriasis is spread across a spectrum from mild to a point where some can hardly function, but it can also affect your joints. As such, research in the past year has drawn clear parallels between this severity and systemic diseases. With your immune system attacking your skin and your joints, the inflammatory mechanism that’s linked to psoriasis and diabetes kicks in full force.
What does this mean for you, and medical professionals in general? For dermatologists, this presents a hard transition: instead of focusing solely on the effects of psoriasis on our patient’s skin, we also have to push patients to see their doctors regularly and to maintain awareness of the heightened risks psoriasis presents for other diseases.
For doctors, this means that patients with psoriasis and diabetes may benefit from more stringent screening for diabetic complications, and education efforts aimed at patients and providers could be relevant. In general, psoriasis’ effect on diabetes has been well-researched, but the extent and severity of the degree of this impact may have been underestimated.
Personally, I am highly interested in this topic and I will certainly be encouraging my psoriasis patients to look into their microvascular and macrovascular health more seriously. If you experience psoriasis or know anyone who has it, share this blog and pass the knowledge on!
Source: Psoriasis and Risk of Diabetes-Associated Microvascular and Macrovascular Complications. J Am Acad Dermatol 2015 Mar 17;[EPub Ahead of Print], AW Armstrong, A Guérin, M Sundaram, EQ Wu, ES Faust, R Ionescu-Ittu, P Mulani