Three million Canadians have rosacea and may have a higher risk for several diseases, according to studies.(Acne and Rosacea Society of Canada)

Rosacea: skin condition may warn of serious diseases

People with rosacea may be at higher risk for a variety of disorders and, if they are aware of this, it may help detect disease at an early stage so they can get early treatment, notes a Canadian non-profit. Rosacea is an inflammatory skin condition characterized by facial redness, pimples and sometimes irritated eyes. It affects three million Canadians.

Risks for several diseases elevated

An analysis published earlier this year showed people with rosacea had four times the risk for cardiovascular disease and reflux, almost three times the risk for Crohn’s disease, 2.5 times the risk for type 2 diabetes and twice the risk for inflammatory bowel disease and celiac disease.

People with rosacea also have 10 time higher risk of having food allergies, 7.5 times greater risk of diseases affecting the urinary tract or reproductive organs and four time elevated risk for respiratory diseases.

It appears that inflammation is the common thread between rosacea and a higher risk for several diseases. (Acne and Rosacea Society of Canada)

Inflammation seems to be the culprit

The studies don’t show that rosacea causes these other diseases, only that that they are linked. The Acne and Rosacea Society of Canada notes the role of inflammation–the immune system’s response to potential threat or harm—appears to be the common thread.

Not everyone with rosacea will develop the other diseases, notes dermatologist and society president Dr. Jason Rivers. Several factors play a role including family history, personal history, age, gender, environment and lifestyle.

However, it is good for people to be aware of the higher risk. The Acne and Rosacea Society of Canada has declared April 2018 to be Rosacea Awareness Month.

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