Complications of psoriasis by type and prevention

Keep in mind that your treatment options may change over time based on new research and new therapies available. Make sure you have ongoing conversations with your doctor about the treatment options that might be best for you.

Autoimmune diseases

When you have an autoimmune disease, such as psoriasis, your immune system goes awry and mistakenly attacks healthy cells.4, often triggering mysterious symptoms before getting to the bottom of it. There are over 80 autoimmune diseases that affect different parts of the body, ranging from multiple sclerosis and arthritis to celiac disease and type 1 diabetes.4.

And some of these conditions are more likely to affect people who already have psoriasis. For example, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, two autoimmune diseases that affect the gastrointestinal tract, are more common in people with psoriasis than in those without. However, researchers aren’t sure why this happens, and with many of these conditions, it’s impossible to tell which came first or whether one caused another.

“There is no specific answer to the question ‘chicken and egg'”, Shivani Kaushik5, MD, assistant professor at the Rutgers Center for Dermatology, tells SELF. One possible theory, according to Dr. Kaushik, is that many autoimmune diseases, including psoriasis, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis, may be related as they all cause inflammation in the body. “For many patients with extensive psoriasis, there’s no doubt that they also have inflammation on the inside,” she says, as opposed to the inflammation you only see on the outside of the body. skin.

There is no foolproof way to avoid developing multiple autoimmune diseases, but keep your psoriasis under control by regularly taking your medications, such as biologics to directly target the immune system, and contacting your doctor if you have new relapses or worsening. can help you create a plan to keep inflammation under control.

Psoriatic arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis (RP), although technically also an autoimmune disease6, has a more specific link with psoriasis than other autoimmune diseases. Psoriatic arthritis most often appears 7 to 10 years after the onset of psoriasis symptoms7, and occurs when the immune system begins to attack healthy joints and / or tendons, causing inflammation, pain, swelling and stiffness in the hands, knees, wrists, ankles and feet.

The two conditions are inextricably linked, but the link is not yet completely clear to experts. Psoriasis does not necessarily cause psoriatic arthritis. Only about 20-30% of people with psoriasis are diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis.8 and a small number of people with psoriatic arthritis have no symptoms of pre-existing psoriasis9.

“We know that certain types of psoriasis patients tend to have a higher chance of developing psoriatic arthritis,” including scalp psoriasis and reverse psoriasis, according to Samar Gupta11, MD, Associate Professor in the University of Michigan School of Medicine and Head of Clinical Rheumatology and VA Medical Education.

It is therefore crucial to report any joint pain to your doctor if you have psoriasis, as early detection can help you start treatment earlier, which can help prevent joint damage from psoriatic arthritis.

Heart disease

A lot of research shows that chronic inflammation can cause a buildup of fat and cholesterol, called plaques, in your arteries.12. Over time, and if you have a lot of buildup, the plaques can burst and eventually lead to a stroke or heart attack. Reducing overall inflammation is really important when it comes to lowering your risk for heart disease, says Dr. Menter, and one way to do that is to control your psoriasis with medication.


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