Rosacea is associated with an increased risk of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, according to a large population study.
Danish researchers studied nearly 5.6 million adults between 1997 and 2012 and found those with rosacea (82,439) had a 25% increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and a 7% increased risk of dementia compared with those who did not have the skin complaint.
A total of 99,040 people developed dementia over the 6-year period, of which 29,193 were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Rosacea sufferers aged 60 years and over were at the higher risk end.
Of those with rosacea, 2.03 people per thousand developed dementia, compared with 1.47 per thousand for the general population. For Alzheimer’s, the incidence rate was 0.79 per thousand people with rosacea compared with 0.43 for the general population.
Women with rosacea also had a slightly higher risk of Alzheimer’s than men.
The researchers point to rosacea’s association with increased levels of metalloproteinases and antimicrobial peptides that are also implicated in neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
“A subtype of patients have prominent neurological symptoms such as burning and stinging pain in the skin, migraines, and neuropsychiatric symptoms, suggesting a link between rosacea and neurological diseases,” says lead author Dr Alexander Egeberg.