Comorbidities and psoriasis

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This content reflects the views of the individual blogger and is not intended to advise you about your health. Always seek advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare professionals.

Psoriasis is way more than just a skin thing or an auto-immune condition. In fact, people with psoriasis are at a higher risk of developing other chronic and health conditions, also known as "comorbidities”.

The word comorbidities can be a scary one but there is nothing to be afraid of. In this article, I hope to make you aware of some other conditions that you may experience and need treatment for alongside your psoriasis.

It is good to have an awareness of understanding of these conditions. Below I highlight two comorbidities that I have experienced during my psoriasis journey and one that you should watch out for.

Psoriatic Arthritis

It is estimated that up to 30 percent of people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis causes tenderness, pain and swelling in the joints and connective tissue, as well as stiffness. It can affect any joint in the body but often affects the hands, feet, knees, neck, spine and elbows.

Although having psoriasis means you are more at risk of developing psoriatic arthritis, it is not always linked to how severe your psoriasis is. People with mild or moderate psoriasis can also develop psoriatic arthritis, which is why it is important to be aware of the symptoms.

I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis in December 2018. I first noticed that I was getting very stiff in my legs which was causing a lot of pain. My right pinky toe swelled up, I started getting psoriasis in my belly button and my right thumb no longer sits straight. These are all signs of psoriatic arthritis. I was referred to the Rheumatologist who sent me for an MRI scan to see the full extent of the psoriatic arthritis. I have just had these results back and I am currently waiting on treatment for my arthritis.

Though it causes me pain and some difficulty moving at the moment. It is good to know that psoriatic arthritis is a very manageable condition. I know lots of people who live full and active lives despite having the condition.

Depression

It's been said that depression is the number one comorbidity of psoriasis. People with psoriasis are twice as likely to become depressed compared to people who do not have psoriasis.

The effect that psoriasis has on people’s physical appearance can cause people to feel self-conscience and isolated. This can lead to depression. Depression, like psoriasis, can have a significant impact on quality of life.

The emotional side of psoriasis can be painful and difficult to talk about. Whether you feel overwhelmed or isolated, talking to family or close friends about the condition can really help you deal with what is going on. Talking about how you feel can help you come to terms with the condition and also help with how you are feeling.

I had my depression diagnosed before I got psoriasis. I definitely found that as my psoriasis patches got bigger and angrier, my depression got worse. It was a vicious cycle. I went to my doctor and went back on medication for my depression as well as taking CBT courses to learn how to deal with depressive and anxious thoughts.

If you feel like you are really struggling, please go and see your doctor. They can help by prescribing anti-depressants and suggesting therapy or CBT courses.

Type 2 Diabetes

Research shows that when having psoriasis means you're at higher risk of type 2 diabetes.

Inflammation caused by psoriasis can also increase the amount on insulin-like growth in the body which is linked to diabetes. As psoriasis also affects the immune systems in ways that has previously been linked to type 2 diabetes.

Both of these conditions are also affected by lifestyle choices. Smoking, drinking alcohol and an unhealthy diet can increase your chances of both psoriasis and type 2 diabetes.

Don’t ignore the risks that can come with psoriasis, it is more than a skin condition! This article shows just how important for people with psoriasis to look after their overall health and how important it is to get regular psoriasis check-ups. Pay attention to other risk factors and ensure that your holistic plan works with your medical plan to minimize these factors.

Keeping up with your psoriasis treatments and ensuring you get a yearly check-up allows you to ensure that nothing is going on that you don’t know about, even if the skin is clear!

MAT-31831 January 2020


References:
1. https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis/related-conditions
2. https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis/related-conditions
3. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/psoriasis/living-with/
4. https://www.psoriasis.org/life-with-psoriasis/depression
5. https://www.everydayhealth.com/psoriasis/living-with/psoriasis-type-2-diabetes-link/

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