Does Acne Signal Diabetes Risk?

JANUARY 06, 2016
Dava Stewart
Postadolescent men with acne have insulin resistance more frequently than those without acne according to the results of a recent study by Mohit Nagpal, MD, of the Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology, at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh, India, and colleagues. The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Dermatology in December, 2015.
 
The researchers investigated “the prevalence of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome in postadolescent male patients with acne.” They also aimed to “assess the differential prevalence of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome in different severities of acne.” One hundred participants with acne, and 100 without acne were recruited from the Dermatology Outpatient Department of the Department of Dermatology, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research. The group with acne was evenly divided between those with mild, moderate, severe, and very severe cases.
 
“There was no statistical difference in age, height, and weight between cases and controls,” according to the published study. Researchers took the BMI, waist circumference, and blood pressure of the participants to determine whether or not metabolic syndrome was present. Among the participants with acne, the mean weight was higher in the very severe group than in the mild group, as was the BMI; however, the mean height, waist circumference, and blood pressure was not significantly different across the four groups.
 
The researchers state, “Our cross-sectional study to identify the prevalence of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome in male patients 20 years or older with acne was prompted by the common finding of acne in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome, an endocrinologic abnormality in which insulin resistance may be causal for development of acne.” Indeed, the conclusion that the researchers reached is that young men with acne, regardless of severity, tend to have a higher level of insulin resistance.
 
This study was limited by the cross-sectional design, and the researchers suggest that “future studies will follow up patients with acne to assess the development of clinical conditions associated with insulin resistance.” For the present, given the results, and the fact that “insulin resistance may be a stage of prediabetes” such patients should be followed closely. 


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