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Psoriasis patients at high risk of diabetes

Risk in cardiometabolic diseases – new findings

Munich, Germany – August 27 2012: Patients with psoriasis are at high risk of new-onset diabetes mellitus, according to research presented at ESC Congress 2012. The findings were presented at the press conference by Dr Ole Ahlehoff from Copenhagen University Hospital, Gentofte, Denmark and at the scientific session by Usman KHALID.


Psoriasis is a common chronic inflammatory disease that affects approximately 125 million people worldwide. A new study of the entire Danish population confirms previous reports of increased risk of diabetes mellitus in patients with psoriasis and shows that risk increases with severity of psoriasis.

Psoriasis, atherosclerosis, and early steps in the development of diabetes mellitus are characterised by chronic inflammation, i.e. a chronic state of alert. “This chronic state of alert may explain the increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes mellitus seen in these patients,” said Dr Ahlehoff.

The study comprised more than 4 million people, including approximately 50,000 patients with psoriasis, who were followed for 13 years.
The overall rates of new-onset diabetes mellitus per 1,000 observational years were 3.67 (CI=3.65-3.69) in the reference population who did not have psoriasis, 6.93 (CI=6.63-7.25) for patients with mild psoriasis and 9.65 (CI=8.68-10.73) for patients with severe psoriasis.

The risk of new-onset diabetes mellitus was increased in all patients with psoriasis compared to people who did not have psoriasis. Risk increased with the severity of psoriasis. Compared to people without psoriasis, patients with mild psoriasis were 1.5 times more likely to acquire new-onset diabetes mellitus [rate ratio (RR)=1.49; CI=1.43-1.56] and patients with severe psoriasis were more than twice as likely [RR=2.13; CI=1.91-2.37].

The results remained significant after adjustment for potential confounders, including age, sex, socioeconomic status, use of medication, and comorbidity. 

Dr Ahlehoff said: “The major conclusion of the study was that psoriasis was associated with increased risk of diabetes mellitus and the risk was highest in patients with severe psoriasis.”

“The results add to current evidence of increased risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disease in patients with psoriasis,” he added. “More needs to be done to increase awareness in this large group of patients on what steps they can take to decrease their risk factors for cardiovascular disease.”

Dr Ahlehoff continued: “Studies are urgently required to examine the impact of aggressive psoriasis treatment on cardiometabolic outcomes.”



This press release accompanies both a presentation and an ESC press conference at the ESC Congress 2012. The press release has been written by the investigator and edited by the ESC and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Society of Cardiology.

Refers to session:  Predicting diabetic risk beyond high sugar

Refers to press conference:  Risk in cardiometabolic diseases – new findings

Notes to editor

About the European Society of Cardiology
The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) represents more than 75,000 cardiology professionals across Europe and the Mediterranean. Its mission is to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease in Europe.

About ESC Congress 2012
ESC Congress 2012 will take place from 25 to 29 August at the Messe München centre in Munich, Germany. Information on the scientific programme is available here. More information on ESC Congress 2012 is available from the ESC Press Office or contact us at


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