Health Conditions Associated with Psoriasis
Individuals with psoriasis are at an elevated risk to develop other chronic and serious health conditions also known as "comorbid diseases" or "comorbidities." These include heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease and diabetes. People with more severe cases of psoriasis have an increased incidence of psoriatic arthritis, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, depression, obesity, and other immune-related conditions such as Crohn's disease1.
Up to 30 percent of people with psoriasis also develop psoriatic arthritis, which causes pain, stiffness and swelling in and around the joints. Learn more about types, symptoms, and treatment options for
psoriatic arthritis »
An October 2006 study confirmed the increased risk of cardiovascular disease for psoriasis patients, especially those with severe psoriasis in their 40s and 50s. Psoriasis patients should examine their modifiable risk factors—for example, quit smoking, reduce stress, decrease your sodium intake and maintain a normal weight.
Psoriasis can cause considerable emotional distress for patients, including decreased self-esteem, and an increased incidence of mood disorders, such as depression. One study estimates that approximately one-fourth of psoriasis patients suffer from depression.
A number of studies have found an increased risk of certain types of cancer in psoriasis patients, such as a form of skin cancer known as squamous cell carcinoma and lymphoma. In some instances, these cancers have been associated with specific psoriasis treatments which suppress the immune system. Patients should follow recommended regular health screenings for cancer and avoid high risk behaviors.
The National Psoriasis Foundation Medical Board urges psoriasis patients to work with their doctors to outline an appropriate preventative program based on individual medical histories and known risk factors to ensure they are continually monitoring for the potential onset of any health issues related to psoriasis.
1. Information is from the report entitled, "National Psoriasis Foundation clinical consensus on psoriasis comorbidities and recommendations for screening," published online in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology by dermatologist Alexa B. Kimball, MD, MPH, FAAD, and the National Psoriasis Foundation Medical Board.