Health In Focus
  • Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin disease characterized by itchy or sore patches with silvery scales on the skin.
  • Being obese may worsen the severity of psoriasis.
  • Losing weight can reduce symptoms and improve the quality of life in obese patients with psoriasis.

Weight loss may reduce the symptoms and improve the quality of life in psoriasis patients, finds a new study from Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, along with the University of Copenhagen's Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports and other participants.

The study findings were published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Weight Loss May Show New Hope in the Treatment of Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a condition that causes itchy or sore patches of red skin with silvery scales. It is a chronic inflammatory disease of the immune system. These patches may occur on the elbows, knees, scalp, palms and face.

It may be caused due to infections, stress, changes in the weather conditions and the use of certain medicines.

Link Between Obesity and Psoriasis

The research study was conducted on 60 obese patients who were affected by psoriasis. These patients were found to have lost 15 kilos over a period of 16 weeks while reducing the symptoms of psoriasis and improving the quality of life.

After a follow-up of one year, these patients lost 10 kilos from their starting weight, and were found to improve psoriatic symptoms and maintain the quality of life.

Lone Skov, Professor and Senior Physician, Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, Department of Dermatology and Allergy, University of Copenhagen, said, "150,000 Danes suffer from varying degrees of psoriasis."

Being overweight may worsen psoriasis.

Professor Arne Astrup, co-author of the study, University of Copenhagen's Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, said, "We know that both psoriasis and obesity are linked with an increased incidence of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. If we could get obese psoriasis patients to lose weight and keep the weight off, we could potentially derive positive effects on their overall health and quality of life as well."

Weight Loss May Improve the Quality of Life

The previous research study conducted in 2012 on obese patients with psoriasis had lost 10-15% of their weights. The study was able to reveal the tendency to lose weight and reduced the severity of psoriasis.

The study also demonstrated that weight loss could improve the quality of life among psoriasis patients.

Dr. Peter Jensen, senior resident, Ph.D, Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, University of Copenhagen, said, "When we revisited test subjects one year later, they had only regained five kilos. Thus, they remained ten kilos beneath their starting weights. This was impressive in and of itself, but it was even more positive that they had maintained the effects of their initial weight loss with regards to the diminished severity of their psoriasis and quality of life."

Facts on Psoriasis

  • Around 7.5 million people in the United States suffer from psoriasis.
  • Plaque psoriasis is a common form of psoriasis that affects 80 -90% of the psoriasis patients.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis) found to be 3.8 to 7.5 times greater among psoriatic patients.
  • Around 40% of people with psoriasis have joint inflammation and suffer from a condition called psoriatic arthritis.
  • Psoriasis may have a notable impact on the psychological and emotional well-being of the patient.

Obesity and Psoriasis

Inflammation is the main link between obesity and psoriasis. Obese patients are more likely to experience adverse effects of medicines that are used for the treatment of psoriasis. Being overweight may worsen the symptoms of psoriasis.

Professor Arne Astrup concludes that, the importance of focusing on weight loss in obese patients with psoriasis may significantly help to provide effective treatment options for psoriasis. This move may also reduce the complications associated with obesity.

References :
  1. P. Jensen et al. 'Long-term effects of weight reduction on the severity of psoriasis in a cohort derived from a randomized trial: a prospective observational follow-up study', American Journal of Clinical Nutrition; (2016). DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.115.125849
  2. What is psoriasis? - (
  3. Psoriasis - (
  4. Does Obesity Lead to Psoriasis? - (
Source: Medindia

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