What other health risks do I have if I have psoriatic arthritis? What can I do about them?

Psoriatic arthritis affects more than just your joints and skin. It increases your risk of a number of other lifelong health problems. The swelling throughout the body that triggers joint pain and skin symptoms in psoriatic arthritis also can affect your heart, eyes, intestines and other areas of the body.

Health problems commonly seen in those with psoriatic arthritis include:

  • Heart disease.
  • High blood pressure.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Diabetes.
  • Obesity.
  • Osteoporosis.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Inflammation of the eye, called uveitis.
  • Fatty liver disease.

Living with psoriatic arthritis also can make you feel depressed or anxious.

Reduce your risk

Fortunately, you can take steps to reduce the risk of health problems related to psoriatic arthritis:

  • Be honest with your health care team. Open communication allows your health care provider to better monitor your health. Your provider can schedule health screenings so that any other health problems can be diagnosed and treated early. Don't hesitate to tell your care team about any new symptoms, even if you think they might not be related to your psoriatic arthritis.
  • Stick to your treatment plan. Properly managing your psoriatic arthritis may help you fight off other lifelong diseases. For example, research shows that aggressive treatment of psoriatic arthritis may lower your risk of heart disease.
  • Get moving. Exercise reduces swelling and boosts heart health, greatly lowering your risk of diabetes and other health problems. Walking, swimming and yoga are some good ways to keep your joints strong and flexible.
  • Live a healthy lifestyle. Eat a balanced diet and limit alcohol. Alcohol can make psoriasis medicines less effective.
  • If you smoke, quit. Research shows that quitting leads to fewer psoriasis flares and a lower risk of other lifelong diseases, including heart disease. If you need help quitting, ask your health care provider for ways to get started.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Extra weight places stress on your leg joints and spine and increases your risk of other health problems. Medicines for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis may not be as effective if you have extra weight.
March 21, 2023 See more Expert Answers