Health Conditions Linked to Psoriatic Arthritis

People with psoriatic arthritis often have psoriasis. They tend to have or get a few other diseases, too.

There's no clear reason why these other conditions go hand in hand, and researchers are looking for the connection. It may be inflammation.

1. Cancer

You might be more likely to get certain types of cancer, such as lymphoma and nonmelanoma skin cancer. Research suggests it isn’t a treatment that raises your risk, but the disease itself. If you have psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, make sure cancer screening tests are part of your regular care.

2. Cardiovascular (Heart) Disease

Some proteins related to inflammation may affect the fatty deposits, called plaque, that can build up inside blood vessels. Your heart has to work harder to move the blood. This can lead to heart disease and heart attacks.

3. Crohn's Disease

People with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis share similar genetic changes (your doctor will call them mutations) with people who have Crohn’s disease. Let your doctor know if you have symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease like diarrhea, belly cramps, and bloody poop.

4. Depression

This disease takes an emotional toll. It can lead to low self-esteem and a higher chance of mood disorders like depression. People with psoriatic arthritis may be more likely to get depression than those with psoriasis alone. Studies show that treating your psoriasis can ease your depression symptoms.

5. Diabetes

About 1 in 5 people with psoriatic arthritis also have diabetes, a lifelong disease related to high blood sugar. Being obese puts you at risk for both. Some drugs that can treat psoriatic arthritis make you more likely to get diabetes, too.

6. Gout

Someone with psoriatic arthritis is also five times more likely to get gout, a painful type of inflammatory arthritis that happens when uric acid builds up in your body and forms crystals in your joints. It often shows up first your big toe, but it can also affect the knees and ankles.

7. Hearing Loss

Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are both linked to hearing problems. Psoriasis can cause a sudden mild condition called sensorineural hearing loss. A study also found that a third of people with psoriatic arthritis have hearing loss compared to only about 7% of people who don't have the disease. In both cases, scientists think the body’s autoimmune system may be attacking parts of the ear just like it attacks joints.

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8. High Blood Pressure

More than a third of people with psoriatic arthritis have high blood pressure. Your doctor might call it hypertension. Your blood pushes harder than normal against the walls of your arteries, putting stress on them.

9. Kidney Disease

People with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are more likely to get kidney disease due to inflammation that comes along with the condition. Your doctor should keep an eye on your kidneys as part of your treatment.

10, Liver Disease

People with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis may be more likely to get a liver condition called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). This buildup of fat in your liver can cause it to swell, which could lead to scarring (also known as cirrhosis) and liver disease or liver failure.

11. Metabolic Syndrome

This cluster of conditions includes heart disease, belly fat, and high blood pressure. It's closely linked to psoriatic disease. A study of more than 6,500 people found that 40% of those with psoriasis had metabolic syndrome, compared with just 23% of the general population. It was more common in women and people with severe psoriatic arthritis.

12. Lung Problems

The inflammation that comes with psoriatic arthritis can also lead to a condition known as interstitial lung disease. Symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing, and fatigue. 

13. Obesity

Obesity is common in people with psoriatic arthritis. Some medications that treat psoriatic arthritis, such as corticosteroids, can lead to weight gain and heart disease. When you have a lot of pain and can't move easily, you probably don't like to exercise, and that can make it hard to stay at a healthy weight, too.

14. Stroke

You’re at a higher risk of stroke if you have psoriatic arthritis, so your doctor should be on the lookout for warning signs as part of your treatment.

15. Uveitis

This inflammatory eye disease affects about 7% of people with psoriatic arthritis. Let your eye doctor know if you have symptoms, which include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Eye pain
  • Dark, floating spots in your field of vision
  • Decreased vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Red eyes

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What You Can Do

Work with your doctor to limit your chances of getting these conditions.

  • Keep your psoriatic arthritis under control.
  • Get tested for diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart disease.
  • Exercise regularly. Ask your doctor how to do that safely.
  • Don't smoke.

Researchers are working on ways to treat and control psoriatic arthritis, taking into account the risks for other diseases. 

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Debra Jaliman, MD on April 24, 2019

Sources

SOURCES:

MD Biosciences: "Inflammatory events underlying cardiovascular disease."

American College of Rheumatology: "Psoriatic Arthritis."

National Psoriasis Foundation: “Beyond Joints: How PsA Affects The Body,” “Comorbidities Associated With Psoriatic Disease,” “Psoriasis linked to hearing loss, according to recent study.”

Arthritis Foundation: “Gout Symptoms,” “What is Gout?”

International Journal of Inflammation: “Psoriatic Arthritis Is an Indicator of Significant Renal Damage in Patients with Psoriasis: An Observational and Epidemiological Study.”

American Liver Foundation: “Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.”

Arthritis Research & Therapy: “Are ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis and undifferentiated spondyloarthritis associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events? A prospective nationwide population-based cohort study.”

Mayo Clinic: “Uveitis.”

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