Obesity has been linked to a very unpleasant skin disease called psoriasis.
As we reported recently, people who are obese are at an increased risk of contracting a particularly nasty skin condition called psoriasis — but what is psoriasis and what is so bad about it, and what does being fat have to do with it?
A new study found that those who are overweight and had type 2 diabetes were far more likely to have the chronic skin disease psoriasis, and vice versa. It’s a connection scientists haven’t yet been able to explain, but nor can they ignore how much they seem to be linked, indicating there may be some sort of genetic relationship between the two.
So what is psoriasis? It’s not pretty. It’s essentially an autoimmune disease that results in red, itchy, and scaly patches of skin all over the body in some cases. The most common form is plaque psoriasis, which makes up 90 percent of cases and is characterized by red patches with white scales on top. It usually affects the forearms, shins, scalp, and belly button area, so it’s not an easy disease to simply cover up.
Psoriasis is believed to be a genetic disease, so it’s not clear that obesity is actually a cause of psoriasis — it’s simply that people who are more likely to be obese also appear more likely to get psoriasis.
“Psoriasis, type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity are strongly associated in adults after taking key confounding factors such as sex, age and smoking into account,” the study notes. “Results indicate a common genetic etiology of psoriasis and obesity. Conducting future studies on specific genes and epigenetic factors that cause this association is relevant.”
The statement adds: “Psoriasis has been associated with components of metabolic syndrome, particularly obesity and diabetes. Several factors may explain this association, including genetics and a host of environmental exposures, including smoking, alcohol consumption and shared immunoinflammatory pathways. Twin studies can help explore possible common causes of associated diseases.”