Researchers recently found a link between psoriasis, a chronic skin disease, type 2 diabetes (T2DM) and obesity with a study that involved Danish twins. The paper was published Wednesday in JAMA Dermatology.

The team determined that among the twins, one with psoriasis and the other one without, the prevalence of psoriasis in individuals with T2DM was almost half compared to those healthy twins, 7.6 percent against 4.1 percent, respectively, according to study author Ann Lønnberg, MD, of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

An image of the Danish twins the study analyzed. Credit: MedPage Today

It was also found that the twins with psoriasis had a higher risk of obesity. The results indicated a common genetic etiology for psoriasis and obesity that is worth further investigation due to the team was not able to identify the cause specifically.

“Psoriasis was significantly associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity in this nationwide study of Danish twins, even after adjustment for confounders,” researchers wrote. “Furthermore, this study is the first, to our knowledge, to determine the contribution of genetic and environmental factors to the interaction between obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and psoriasis,” as reported by Medpage Today.

A genetic correlation between psoriasis and Body Mass Index (BMI) was also found but in a modest proportion compared to the others found. However, it was not determined any correlation between psoriasis and T2DM, or a significant environmental correlation between psoriasis and BMI, according to Lønnberg.

A new opportunity

According to Joel Gelfand, MD, of the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia in an accompanying editorial of the paper, the study, along with other evidence linking psoriasis T2DM and obesity, suggested that screening psoriasis patients for diabetes might be useful.

Dermatologists have now the opportunity to educate patients with psoriasis and initiate appropriate screenings, or even refer then to primary care physicians, which can result in better outcomes in the patient’s life.

Researchers used a population-based twin study, which included 34,781 Danish twins between 20 and 71 years old. The data about their health was validated against hospital discharge diagnoses and they were collected in the spring of 2002, according to the paper.

Source: JAMA Dermatology