Rosacea patients likely will have higher risk of dementia

Rosacea patients likely will have higher risk of dementia
Rosacea patients likely will have higher risk of dementia

A Danish study found an increased risk of dementia, especially Alzheimer's disease, in patients who have rosacea. 

The chronic inflammatory skin disorder often leaves patients — some 3 million annually in the U.S. — with red, bumpy patches on their faces. It is linked to proteins including matrix metalloproteinases and antimicrobial peptides that also are found with neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer's. 

A team led by Alexander Egeberg, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Copenhagen, investigated the association between rosacea and dementia by combing through Danish health records dating from 1997 to 2012. 

Egeberg reported that patients with rosacea had a 7% higher risk of developing dementia and a 25% higher risk of Alzheimer's disease. Full results were published in Annals of Neurology.

“It is important for patients and physicians to remember that having rosacea does not guarantee that they will develop Alzheimer's disease,” Egeberg told McKnight's via email. “While the risk in rosacea patients may be slightly increased compared with the general population, the absolute risk is still quite low.”

Patients with severe rosacea symptoms such as stinging pain and migraines could be more prone to neurological disorders, but Egeberg said a specific internal link remains unclear.