Managing other health risks when you have psoriasis

Psoriasis increases your risk of a number of other chronic health conditions. But you can take steps to reduce your risk.

When you have psoriasis, your health risks may run deeper than the dry, itchy patches or scales the condition can leave on your skin. It's unclear exactly why, but psoriasis is related to a higher risk of other serious conditions that can affect your bones, joints, eyes, heart and more. Some research suggests that this may be because the inflammation related to psoriasis also might cause inflammation in other parts of the body.

The good news is that by managing your psoriasis, you might reduce your risk of some of those other conditions. Making healthy lifestyle choices also might help. These include eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, moderating how much alcohol you drink and having routine health screenings. Work closely with your health care provider to monitor for symptoms of related conditions so that they can be diagnosed and treated early.

Psoriasis is related to a higher risk of these conditions:

  • Psoriatic arthritis, which can cause joint damage and a loss of function in some joints. Symptoms are joint pain, stiffness and swelling — and sometimes back pain. Sometimes the amount of arthritic symptoms are more prominent or severe than the skin symptoms.
  • Eye conditions such as conjunctivitis, blepharitis and uveitis. Symptoms could include irritated and red eyes, flaking or crusting in the eyelashes, swollen eyelids, and psoriasis on or near the eyelids.
  • Obesity, a condition in which extra body fat adds to health risk. Body mass index (BMI) is one number used to measure obesity. People with a BMI of 30 or above may be considered to have obesity. BMI is a calculation based on a person's height and weight. People with a higher BMI may have more difficulty controlling and treating their psoriasis.
  • Type 2 diabetes, which some people might have for years without knowing it. Symptoms include increased thirst, needing to urinate more often, weight loss and fatigue.
  • High blood pressure, which also is called hypertension. It usually has no symptoms.
  • Heart disease, which is also called cardiovascular disease. It can show up as an irregular heartbeat, stroke, high cholesterol and atherosclerosis. Symptoms of cardiovascular disease include chest pain; tightness or discomfort in the arms, shoulders, jaw, throat or back; shortness of breath; and weakness.
  • Metabolic syndrome, which is a cluster of conditions that increase the risk of heart disease. These conditions include high blood pressure, elevated insulin levels and irregular cholesterol levels. Most of the disorders related to metabolic syndrome have no symptoms, although a large waist circumference is a visible sign.
  • Other autoimmune diseases, such as celiac disease, patchy hair loss known as alopecia areata and the inflammatory bowel disease called Crohn's disease. Symptoms of autoimmune diseases vary depending on the condition.
  • Parkinson's disease, which is a chronic neurological condition. Symptoms include a tremor of an arm, leg, hand or fingers; a slowing of body movements over time; muscle stiffness; and impaired posture, balance and speech.
  • Kidney disease, which develops over time. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, lack of hunger, fatigue, shortness of breath and muscle cramps.
  • Low self-esteem and depression, which can affect your quality of life. You also may withdraw socially. Symptoms of depression include feelings of sadness or hopelessness, loss of interest or pleasure in typical activities, lack of energy, sleep disturbances, and changes in hunger or weight.

Talk with your health care provider about what conditions you might be at greater risk of and how to best screen for them. And be sure to let your health care provider know about any symptoms you're experiencing, even if you think they might not be related to your psoriasis.

Feb. 15, 2023 See more In-depth

See also

  1. 5 signs a psoriasis support group is right for you
  2. 6 ways to manage itchy skin when you have psoriasis
  3. Arthritis
  4. Arthritis pain: Do's and don'ts
  5. Can psoriasis make it hard to sleep?
  6. Dry skin
  7. Ease stress to reduce your psoriasis flares
  8. Exercising with arthritis
  9. Ground flaxseed
  10. Gluten sensitivity and psoriasis: What's the connection?
  11. How to heal cracked heels
  12. How to heal cracked skin at thumb tip
  13. Is the Mediterranean diet good for psoriasis?
  14. Living better with psoriasis
  15. Mayo Clinic Minute: Fingernails are clues to your health
  16. Mayo Clinic Minute: Moisturizer tips from a dermatologist
  17. Photodynamic therapy
  18. Prednisone risks, benefits
  19. Pregnancy and breastfeeding when you have psoriasis
  20. Psoriasis
  21. Psoriasis and clinical trials
  22. Psoriasis and intimacy
  23. Psoriasis and your self-esteem
  24. Identifying what worsens your psoriasis
  25. Psoriasis: Get the most out of your treatment
  26. Psoriasis: How can I protect my skin during a workout?
  27. Psoriasis treatment options
  28. Psoriasis: What if I get psoriatic arthritis, too?
  29. Psoriasis: What to share with your doctor
  30. Relaxation techniques
  31. Scalp psoriasis vs. seborrheic dermatitis
  32. Skin biopsy
  33. Skin care tips
  34. Skip flavored lip balm
  35. How to trim thickened toenails
  36. Slide show: 5 ways to thrive with psoriasis through the holidays
  37. Slide show: Caring for your skin when you have psoriasis
  38. Hand exercises for people with arthritis
  39. Joint protection
  40. Types of psoriasis
  41. Common skin rashes
  42. Time your lotions right
  43. Ward off dry skin
  44. Alternative psoriasis treatments
  45. What are the risks of vaccinations for people living with psoriasis?
  46. What's the best way to manage scalp psoriasis?
  47. White patch on skin: A cause for concern?