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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA)--As many as 7.5 million Americans are experiencing discomfort from psoriasis, which causesthick, inflamed, scaly patches of skin, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation.But these skin patches might be the least of their worries. A study published in the Archives of Dermatology, a JAMA Network publication, concludes that developing severe psoriasis can lead to Type 2 Diabetes.

Researchers compared 108,132 people with psoriasis to 430,716 patients without psoriasis, and found patients with mild psoriasis had an 11% increased risk of diabetes and patients with severe psoriasis had a 46% higher risk compared to patients without the psoriasis.

Rahat S. Azfar, MD, MSCE, adjunct assistant professor of the University of Pennsylvania Dermatology in the Perelman School of Medicine says, " Both patients with psoriasis, especially those with severe psoriasis, and their treating physicians should be aware of the potential for systemic metabolic complications associated with this skin disease."

Patientswith psoriasis are at higher risk even if they don't have common risk factors such as obesity.

"Patients with psoriasis should eat a healthy diet, get regular exercise, and see their physician for routine preventative health screenings such as checks of blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar," said Joel M. Gelfand, MD, MSCE, associate professor of Dermatology in the Perelman School of Medicine.