Could you get complications if you have psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis? Yes. Both diseases put you at greater risk of other serious health conditions.
Psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis both raise your chance of having cardiovascular disease, especially if your psoriatic disease is more severe. People with severe psoriasis are at the highest risk. They’re almost 60% more likely to have a heart attack and 40% more likely to have a stroke. If you have severe psoriatic arthritis, you’re also much more likely to have heart disease that could be deadly.
Why? Psoriatic disease raises you chances of having high blood pressure, belly fat, and high cholesterol. All three are linked to higher heart disease risk. Chronic inflammation in psoriatic disease causes you to get these heart-related risks.
What can you do?
- Talk to your doctor about being screened for cardiovascular disease red flags like high blood pressure or cholesterol.
- To lower your odds of heart attacks and strokes, treat your psoriatic disease and get inflammation under control as soon as possible.
- Quit smoking. Tobacco smoking makes drugs that treat psoriatic disease, such as biologics, work less effectively. Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease too.
- Try to stay at a healthy weight. People with psoriatic arthritis may have more severe disease if they’re obese, and obesity also makes you more likely to have heart disease. Excess weight and body fat also make psoriasis more severe. Losing weight can reverse that effect.
Psoriatic disease also makes you more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. If you have severe psoriasis, your risk of getting diabetes goes up by 30%. More people with psoriatic arthritis, especially women, have diabetes, compared to those without psoriatic disease.
Why? Again, chronic inflammation is likely to blame. Both psoriatic disease and diabetes involve inflammation throughout your body. It can cause you to develop a resistance to insulin, which is an early sign of diabetes. Some hormones, especially in women with psoriatic disease, may be linked to diabetes risk.
What can you do?
- Get screened for diabetes, especially if you’re female. If you notice any early signs of diabetes, like being extra thirsty or having blurry vision, let your doctor know right away.
- Eat a healthy diet, get regular exercise, and manage your weight to help prevent diabetes. If you’re overweight or obese, you’re much more likely to get diabetes.
If you have psoriatic disease, you may get uveitis, a rare type of eye inflammation. Symptoms include blurred vision, redness, light sensitivity, floaters in your vision, and pain. It can happen in one or both eyes and start suddenly.
Why? Psoriatic arthritis, psoriasis, and uveitis all involve inflammation. Certain common genes may link uveitis with psoriatic disease too.
What can you do?Get yearly eye exams to look for early signs of eye inflammation or damage. If you notice any possible uveitis symptoms or changes in your vision, get an exam from an ophthalmologist, a doctor who specializes in eye diseases, right away.
Psoriatic disease also makes you more likely to have mood problems like depression. Some people with psoriatic arthritis or psoriasis may get depressed because they have a chronic illness that affects their everyday life. If you have more severe psoriatic symptoms, like inflamed joints or fatigue, you may have more depression and anxiety too. Psoriatic arthritis seems to carry a higher risk of depression than psoriasis.
Why? Again, having a chronic disease can make you depressed or have low self-esteem. Research shows that people with psoriatic arthritis who are unemployed are more likely to be depressed, so how your disease affects your life may be a strong factor. But inflammation plays a role in depression too. Higher levels of cytokines, proteins in your blood that drive inflammation in psoriatic disease, are also seen in depression.
What can you do? Treating your psoriatic disease may ease depression symptoms. You may need psychological counseling or group therapy support, too.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
If you have a psoriatic disease, you could develop an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis (UC). Your risk of Crohn’s is higher than your risk of getting UC, but both are possible complications of psoriatic disease.
Why? Crohn’s and psoriatic disease may be caused by the same altered genes. Inflammation is involved in both diseases. Gut bacteria might trigger inflammation in your bowels and other parts of your body at the same time, including your joints.
What can you do? If you notice the signs of IBD, like diarrhea, blood in your poop, or belly cramps, let your doctor know. They may be able to suggest changes to your diet that ease IBD symptoms or help you manage them.