FAQs: Questions about complications and other diseases

What health complications are associated with psoriasis?

The skin plays an important role in regulating body temperature, maintaining body fluids (hydration) and serving as a barrier against infection. Dehydration, infection and increased or decreased body temperature can put a strain on the kidneys and heart. Erythrodermic and pustular psoriasis are forms that can produce major changes in the body when they are flaring.

Is psoriasis linked to other diseases?

Individuals with psoriasis are at an elevated risk to develop other chronic and serious health conditions such as heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease and diabetes. People with severe psoriasis have an elevated risk of heart attack. Learn more about the other conditions or "comorbidities" associated with psoriasis

Psoriatic arthritis is a specific type of arthritis that has been diagnosed in approximately 10 to 30 percent of people who have psoriasis. In psoriatic arthritis, the joints and the soft tissue around them become inflamed and stiff. Psoriatic arthritis can affect the fingers and toes and may involve the, neck, lower back, knees and ankles. In severe cases, psoriatic arthritis can be disabling and cause irreversible damage to joints. Learn more about psoriatic arthritis.

If I have psoriasis does that mean I will develop psoriatic arthritis?

Approximately 10 percent to 30 percent of people with psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis, although it often may go undiagnosed, particularly in its milder forms. About 11 percent of those diagnosed with psoriasis have also been diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. It can develop at any time, but for most people it appears between the ages of 30 and 50. Learn more about psoriatic arthritis.

1. Gelfand JM, Gladman DD, Mease PJ, Smith N, Margolis DJ, Nijsten T, Stern RS, Feldman SR, Rolstad T. Epidemiology of psoriatic arthritis in the population of the United States. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2005 Oct; 53(4):573.