Psoriasis appears as red scaly plaques on the skin almost anywhere on the body. It is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects more than just the patient’s skin1. Patients experience negative psychosocial impacts especially when the patches appear on very visible areas of the body like on the scalp, face and nails. More often than not, people will stare at the patients causing them to feel self-conscious and this ultimately lowers their self-esteem as well.
Psoriasis does not just affect the skin, but it can also because underlying inflammation associated with many comorbidities. Because of that psoriasis patients are also more likely to develop some diseases. Moderate to severe psoriasis when compared to regular people have an increased risk of developing the
Hyperlipidemia (60% higher risk)
Psoriasis patient’s inflamed blood vessels cause the development of atherosclerosis which means the buildup of a fatty substance called plaque inside the artery walls. This plaque may cut off and even slow down the flow of blood to the heart which may also lead to cardiovascular problems2.
High blood pressure (70% higher risk)
The inflammation in psoriasis patients may cause high blood pressure as well, which similarly, can also lead to cardiovascular problems. According to research, there is a connection between psoriasis and an increase in several proteins and enzymes that indirectly raise blood pressure or increase inflammation3.
Psoriatic arthritis (About 30% higher risk)
Although psoriasis and psoriatic Arthritis sound very similar, they are completely different diseases. The similarities between the both of them is that the immune responses that lead to inflammation in the body causes the symptoms of both conditions. It is this inflammation that leads to the rashes or joint pains. However, the severity of psoriasis also is not linked to the development psoriatic arthritis4.
Diabetes (80% higher risk)
Chronic inflammation caused by psoriasis is a significant contributing factor for the increased diabetes risk. This is because diabetes is also a chronic inflammatory condition. resistance and type 2 diabetes5.
Obesity (40% higher risk)
People with psoriasis are more likely than others to be obese. This can happen in two ways6:
1. Long-lasting inflammation throughout the body is something psoriasis and obesity have in common. This is because fat cells may be able to turn on inflammation.
2. Psoriasis could also lead to obesity in some patients, due inactive lifestyles. Because of the plaques on their skin or even other underlying comorbidities (like psoriatic arthritis), it is physically difficult for some patients to be active.
Because most of these comorbidities are not as visible as psoriasis patches, it is important for patients to monitor their condition to prevent it from becoming worse. If it is too late, psoriasis patients will not only need to manage their psoriasis but also any other additional comorbidities as well.
Psoriasis patients should reach out to their doctors or dermatologists if they are experiencing a hard time managing their condition and also to seek for early treatment to prevent any irreversible damage.
Infographic data sourced from Malaysian Psoriasis Registry (2007-2018)
- National Psoriasis Foundation. (n.d.). About Psoriasis. [online] Available at: https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis [Accessed 12 June 2020].
- Roth, E. and Watson, K., 2018. The Connection Between Psoriasis And The Heart. [online] Healthline. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/psoriasis/psoriasis-and-your-heart#the-heart-andpsoriasis\ [Accessed 20 July 2020].
- Hall, K., 2017. The Psoriasis-Hypertension Link — And What You Can Do About It. [online] Everyday Health. Available at: https://www.everydayhealth.com/psoriasis/living-with/psoriasis-hypertension-link-what-you-can-about it/#:~:text=Patients%20with%20psoriasis%20may %20have,body%20and%20raises%20blood%20pressure.[Accessed 20 July 2020].
- Berry, J., 2018. Psoriasis And Psoriatic Arthritis: What's The Link?. [online] Medical News Today. Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323672#overview [Accessed 20 July 2020].
- Suszynski, M., 2017. How Psoriasis And Type 2 Diabetes May Be Linked. [online] Everyday Health. Available at: https://www.everydayhealth.com/psoriasis/living-with/psoriasis-type-2-diabetes-link/ [Accessed 20 July 2020].
- Booth, S., 2015. Psoriasis And Obesity: What’s The Connection?. [online] WebMD. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/psoriasis/features/psoriasis-obesity-whats-connection [Accessed 20 July 2020].