New evidence based on studies on twins suggests that type 2 diabetes and obesity may have connections with psoriasis at a genetic level.
By analyzing medical data from around 33,500 twins from Denmark, the research team was able to identify an apparently link between the common skin condition and the respective individual’s likelihood of becoming obese or developing type 2 diabetes.
Psoriasis causes skin inflammation and irritation, with recent CDC estimates suggesting that around 6.5 million US adults have the condition.
The suspected link between obesity and psoriasis was first identified some time ago, along with other general health issues linked with the common skin condition.
For the latest study, researchers focused on a large group of twins, of whom 1.4% were diabetic an 4.2% had psoriasis. The average BMI among the group was 24.5 and around 6.3% were considered clinically obese. While around 7.6% of the twins with diabetes showed signs of psoriasis, the rate was a lower 4.1% among those without diabetes. In addition, those with psoriasis were found to be more likely to have a higher BMI – an average of 25 or about half a point higher than those without psoriasis.
“After multivariable adjustment, a significant association was found between psoriasis and type 2 diabetes mellitus and between psoriasis and increasing BMI,” the researchers wrote in a press release.
“This study determines the contribution of genetic and environmental factors to the interaction between obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and psoriasis,”
“Psoriasis, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and obesity are also strongly associated in adults after taking key confounding factors, such as sex, age, and smoking, into account. Results indicate a common genetic etiology for psoriasis and obesity.”
The researchers added that there are several other lifestyle factors including alcohol abuse, inactivity, drug use, anxiety and poor diets are also known to increase the likelihood of obesity and diabetes.
“These findings are consistent with emerging genetic evidence linking psoriasis to diabetes,” said University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine professor Joel Gelfand in an accompanying editorial. “For example, genetic variation in IL12B, IL23R, and IL23A has an influence not only on the risk for psoriasis but also on its severity and type 2 diabetes. Other researchers have suggested a role for CDKAL1 in conferring susceptibility to both psoriasis and diabetes.”