People with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are at an elevated risk of developing other chronic and serious health conditions, also known as "comorbidities."
It is estimated that up to 30 percent of people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis. People with psoriatic disease also are at greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease, depression and other health conditions.
Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis
A number of studies have found that people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis have an increased risk for certain types of cancer, such as lymphoma and nonmelanoma skin cancer. A recent study showed that no single treatment significantly raises the risk of cancer, suggesting that the disease itself raises your risk. People with psoriatic disease should incorporate regular cancer screenings into their routine care.
Research continues to link psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, especially in people with severe psoriasis. People with severe psoriasis are 58 percent more likely to have a major cardiac event and 43 percent more likely to have a stroke, according to one study. Some researchers report that the leading cause of death for people with severe psoriatic arthritis is cardiovascular disease. The good news is that treating your disease can reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke, one study suggests. Talk to your doctor about your risk for cardiovascular disease.
There is a connection between psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. In a recent study of women with psoriasis, 10 percent developed a form of inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn's Disease or ulcerative colitis. Those who had psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis were at even greater risk of developing Crohn's. People with psoriatic disease and Crohn's share similar genetic mutations. Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease such as diarrhea, abdominal cramping and bloody stools.
Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis can cause considerable emotional distress for people, including low self-esteem, and an increased chance of mood disorders, such as depression. People with psoriatic arthritis are at greater risk of developing depression than those with psoriasis alone, according to some research. Studies show that treating your psoriasis can alleviate symptoms of depression.
People with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are at an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, according to a 2012 study. People with severe psoriasis, in particular, are 30 percent more likely to have type 2 diabetes. A recent study showed that a drug called glucagon-like peptide-1 used to treat type 2 diabetes may help psoriasis, too. If you have symptoms of type 2 diabetes, such as increased thirst, hunger, blurred vision or fatigue, tell your doctor.
There is a significant association between psoriatic disease and metabolic syndrome – a cluster of conditions that include heart disease, abdominal obesity and high blood pressure. A national sample of more than 6,500 people found that 40 percent of those with psoriasis had metabolic syndrome, compared with just 23 percent of the general population. More women with psoriasis had metabolic syndrome than men. People with severe psoriatic arthritis are at even higher risk, with 44 percent diagnosed with metabolic syndrome in a recent study.
Researchers have known for some time that people with psoriatic disease are more likely to be obese than the normal population. Recent studies continue to examine the relationship between the two. One study showed that children with psoriasis were at much greater risk of being obese, while another showed being overweight at 18 increased the risk of developing psoriatic arthritis. Research also shows that losing weight can improve psoriatic disease symptoms and help make treatments more effective.
A small study of people with psoriatic disease showed that 60 percent of patients had osteopenia, an early form of the bone disease, and 18 percent had progressed to osteoporosis. The risk of developing the bone disease increases the longer a person has psoriatic disease, according to the study. While osteoporosis is generally considered to affect women more than men, in this case, men were more affected than women. Consider asking your doctor for a bone density screen.
Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis raise your risk of developing uveitis, an inflammatory disease of the eye. About 7 percent of people with psoriatic arthritis will develop uveitis, according to recent studies. Systemic treatment for psoriatic disease can help with some of the symptoms, but uveitis usually requires specific treatment. We recommend that you speak with an eye doctor if you have symptoms of uveitis. This may be an ophthalmologist or provider that specializes in uveitis, including an ocular immunologist or other uveitis specialist.
People with severe psoriasis are twice as likely to develop chronic kidney disease than those whose psoriasis was mild or had no psoriasis at all, according to an analysis of more than 140,000 psoriasis patient records in the United Kingdom.
Psoriatic Arthritis Only
A small study of patients with psoriatic arthritis showed that 31.7 percent had hearing loss. Inner ear damage was found in 26.7 percent of people with psoriatic arthritis.
Learn more about related health issues
NPF's comorbidities fact sheet will let you know what other disease you might be at risk for, along with providing some tips on how to mitigate those risks.
Do you have questions about the health conditions connected to psoriatic disease?
NPF's Patient Navigation Center has answers. We are the world's first, personalized support center for psoriatic disease, and we can provide you with helpful resources about comorbidities associated with psoriatic disease.