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 chronic health conditions. The body-wide inflammation that triggers the joint pain and skin symptoms in psoriatic arthritis also can affect your heart, eyes, intestines and other areas of the body.

Conditions commonly seen in those with psoriatic arthritis include:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Osteoporosis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Eye inflammation (uveitis)

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

Reduce your risk

Fortunately, you can take steps to reduce your risk of conditions related to psoriatic arthritis:

  • Be honest with your doctor. Open communication allows your doctor to better monitor your health and schedule health screenings so that any other conditions can be diagnosed and treated early. Don't hesitate to tell your doctor 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 chronic diseases. For example, research shows that aggressive treatment of psoriatic arthritis may lower your risk of heart disease.

    And some medicines that may be prescribed for psoriatic arthritis — called tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha blockers — have been linked to lower rates of depression.

  • Get moving. Exercise reduces inflammation and boosts heart health, greatly lowering your risk of diabetes and other chronic health conditions. 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 medications less effective.
  • If you smoke, quit. Research shows that kicking the habit leads to fewer psoriasis flares and a lower risk of other chronic diseases, including heart disease. If you need help quitting, ask your doctor for ways to get started.
April 02, 2019