Drinking alcohol linked to skin disorder

By Liam Davenport

Regularly drinking alcohol, particularly in higher quantities, appears to increase the risk for developing psoriasis, the results of a Chinese study suggest.

While previous studies have implied that drinking alcohol is associated with psoriasis, the results have been mixed and, sometimes, conflicting, explain Kun-Ju Zhu and colleagues from the Affiliated Hospital of Guangdong Medical College in Zhanjiang.

To obtain a clearer picture of the relationship, the team pooled the results of 15 studies, involving several thousand psoriasis patients and healthy individuals, looking at both the amount of alcohol drunk and the ethnic origin of the participants.

They found that, overall, drinking any alcohol increased the risk for developing psoriasis compared with abstaining from alcohol by 53%.

When people who had at least 20 alcoholic drinks per month were compared with abstainers, it was found that the risk of psoriasis was increased by 94%. People who drank less than 20 alcoholic drinks per month did not have a significantly increased risk of psoriasis. However, the researchers say that the relationship between the amount of alcohol consumed and the risk of psoriasis is not proven and will have to be confirmed in other studies.

It was also shown that people of European descent who drank alcohol had a 43% increased risk of developing psoriasis, while people of Asian descent did not seem share that risk.

Noting that the way in which alcohol increases the risk of psoriasis is currently unclear, the team says: "Overall, there exists strong evidence of positive association between alcohol consumption and psoriatic risk. Although the environment and genetics may not be amenable to prevention or alteration, social behaviors such as alcohol consumption can be modified."

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