Resources for Public Health Professionals

To many, psoriasis is viewed as exclusively a disease of the skin. This misconception obscures the underlying systemic processes occurring and the larger implications for overall health. Ultimately, this can create barriers to the optimization of patient outcomes, particularly for underserved communities.

Explore our free resources, including a complimentary copy of our Health Outcomes poster.

What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is an immune-mediated systemic inflammatory disease affecting an estimated 7.5 million adults in the United States. [1] Visibly, psoriasis displays as raised plaques and scales on the skin and can look differently on depending on a person’s skin tone. [2] Psoriasis can appear on any part of the body and affect anyone at any age. Common locations for psoriasis lesions include the genitals, scalp, face, and hands, feet, and nails.

Though plaque psoriasis is the most common form of the disease, there are five different types of psoriasis:

Isn’t psoriasis just a skin disease?

The systemic inflammatory processes that cause psoriasis mean that psoriasis is more than a skin disease. The inflammation that causes psoriasis contributes to the development of psoriatic arthritis, and higher rates of co-occurring diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression among many others. [3-5] It is estimated that 30% of individuals with psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis.[6] Currently, there is no test to diagnose psoriatic arthritis. However, there are validated screening tools for psoriatic arthritis that can help patients get treatment.

Why should public health professionals be concerned about psoriasis?

Research suggests psoriasis contributes to poorer outcomes for individuals who have co-occurring disease (e.g., cardiovascular diseases, diabetes) and higher mortality rates. [7, 8] Further, having psoriasis – especially moderate to severe psoriasis – can be a barrier to common public health interventions (e.g., engaging in physical activity). [9]

Printable Resources

Psoriatic Disease Booklet

An overview of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

Download

Psoriasis Fact Sheet

Causes, types, diagnosis, and treatment of psoriasis.

Download

Comorbidities Quick Guide

A comorbidity is a disease or condition that occurs because of or is related to a health condition you have, such as psoriasis.

Download

Additional Resources

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Psoriatic Disease in Underserved Communities

Hear Dr. Tina Bhutani, M.D., MAS, assistant professor at the University of California, San Francisco, discuss the  impacts psoriatic disease has on underserved minorities.

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Health Outcomes Poster

Request your complimentary copy of the NPF Health Outcomes poster, illustrating the systemic nature of psoriatic disease and full impact on health, including comorbidities, as well as available treatment options.

References

1. Armstrong AW, Mehta MD, Schupp CW, Gondo GC, Bell SJ, Griffiths CEM. Psoriasis Prevalence in Adults in the United States. JAMA Dermatology. 2021 https://doi.org/10.1001/jamadermatol.2021.2007.

2. Nicholas MN, Chan AR, Hessami-Booshehri M. Psoriasis in patients of color: differences in morphology, clinical presentation, and treatment. Cutis. 2020;106(2s):7-10;e. doi:10.12788/cutis.0038

3. Baumer Y, Ng Q, Sanda GE, Dey AK, Teague HL, Sorokin AV, et al. Chronic skin inflammation accelerates macrophage cholesterol crystal formation and atherosclerosis. JCI Insight. 2018;3(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29321372.

4. Esser N, Legrand-Poels S, Piette J, Scheen AJ, Paquot N. Inflammation as a link between obesity, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice. 2014;105(2):141-50 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168822714001879.

5. Dowlatshahi EA, Wakkee M, Arends LR, Nijsten T. The prevalence and odds of depressive symptoms and clinical depression in psoriasis patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Journal of Investigative Dermatology. 2014;134(6):1542-51. doi:10.1038/jid.2013.508

6. Mease PJ, Gladman DD, Papp KA, Khraishi MM, Thaci D, Behrens F, et al. Prevalence of rheumatologist-diagnosed psoriatic arthritis in patients with psoriasis in European/North American dermatology clinics. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2013;69(5):729-35. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2013.07.023

7. Kwon OC, Han K, Chun J, Kim R, Hong SW, Kim JH, et al. Effects of immune-mediated inflammatory diseases on cardiovascular diseases in patients with type 2 diabetes: a nationwide population-based study. Sci Rep. 2022;12(1):11548. doi:10.1038/s41598-022-15436-8

8. Mehta NN, Azfar RS, Shin DB, Neimann AL, Troxel AB, Gelfand JM. Patients with severe psoriasis are at increased risk of cardiovascular mortality: cohort study using the General Practice Research Database. Eur Heart J. 2010;31(8):1000-6 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20037179.

9. Yeroushalmi S, Hakimi M, Chung M, Bartholomew E, Bhutani T, Liao W. Psoriasis and Exercise: A Review.Psoriasis (Auckl). 2022;12:189-197. Published 2022 Jul 2. doi:10.2147/PTT.S349791

This program is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $351,404, with 2 percentage funded by CDC/HHS and $14.3 million amount and 98 percentage funded by non-government source(s). The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by CDC/HHS, or the U.S. Government.

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