If you’re one of the 16 million Americans with rosacea, a chronic skin condition that causes redness and pimples and can affect your eyes, it’s no fun to read that you’re at increased risk for other diseases, too. But that list already includes Parkinson’s, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and stroke.
Latest addition: An epidemiological review of more than 80,000 Danes with rosacea found that they were 25% more likely to develop Alzheimer‘s than people without the skin condition. The risk was higher in patients who were age 60 and older—and in those with more severe rosacea.
The news can be depressing for a condition that already causes its share of psychological pain—and for which stress itself is a trigger. But researchers are hopeful that these new findings may lead to new approaches to this poorly understood disease.
One theory is that it’s not rosacea itself that is raising these other disease risks but the chronic inflammation that is the result of the disease—especially when it’s not well-controlled. Future studies may be able to determine if rosacea patients whose disease is better managed may be at less risk for these serious chronic diseases.
But if you have rosacea, of course, there’s no reason to wait to find better ways—both conventional and complementary—to manage your symptoms. The American Academy of Dermatology, for example, recommends that probiotics (from foods such as yogurt with live cultures and from supplements) have great potential.
To learn more about rosacea—which often goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed—see Bottom Line’s article, “The Great Imposter Skin Disorder.”