In my last post we talked about how pain can be associated with psoriasis. In addition to dealing with the symptom of pain, psoriasis sufferers may also be at an increased risk for developing co-morbid medical conditions. There are many studies which show that having psoriasis is linked with multiple diseases and can even shorten the lifespan of the psoriasis patient. In this post we are going to discuss these comorbid conditions so that you focus on prevention of these diseases or seek early treatment if you should develop any symptoms.
Here are some of the possible co-existing illnesses and medical conditions associated with psoriasis:
• Psoriatic Arthritis
Up to 30% of psoriasis patients will also develop psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis often causes pain, stiffness and swelling in and around the joints.
You can read more about psoriatic arthritis from the National Psoriasis Foundation.
• Crohn’s Disease
The National Psoriasis Foundation cites research to show that individuals having psoriasis may be at greater risk for developing crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammation of the intestines, usually confined to the lower part of the small intestine called the ileum. Symptoms may include abdominal pain in the lower right area, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, and weight loss.
For more information about crohn’s disease please visit our Understanding Crohn’s Center.
There is much research, including a 2005 study published in the Journal of Dermatologic Treatment, to show that one of the more common comorbid conditions associated with psoriasis is the development of diabetes. Diabetes is characterized by elevated blood sugar (glucose) levels due to the body’s inability to produce sufficient insulin.
Some of the symptoms associated with the onset of diabetes may include: Frequent urination, feeling thirsty all the time, intense hunger, increased fatigue, irritability, blurred vision, weight gain, and numbness or tingling in the hands and feet.
To find out more about diabetes please visit MyDiabetesCentral.
In a 2005 study reported in the Archives of Dermatology it was found that patients with psoriasis were more likely to be obese. The National Institutes of Health define obesity as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. If your BMI is 40 or more then you are considered morbidly obese.
Obesity is considered to have a negative impact on one’s general health and is associated with an increased risk for developing joint problems, diabetes, or heart disease.
To find out your BMI you can use the Body Mass Index Calculator on MyObesityConnection.
• Hypertension and Heart Disease
The National Psoriasis Foundation lists hypertension and heart disease as some of the more common comorbid conditions for psoriasis patients. Hypertension is also more commonly called high blood pressure. This means that you have elevated levels of pressure of blood in your arteries. One of the dangers of having chronic high blood pressure is that it can cause serious damage to your heart. Heart disease is a general term to describe a variety of conditions leading to a greater risk of heart attack or even heart failure.
• Anxiety and Depression
In an interview with Doctor Lawrence Green we explored the psychological impact of having psoriasis. There is much research to show that patients with psoriasis may be more at risk for developing anxiety and mood related problems.
If you are suffering from either anxiety or depression as the result of having psoriasis you are not alone. There is support and help. For support, information, and resources on how to deal with anxiety please visit Health Central’s Anxiety Connection. Likewise MyDepressionConnection can help you to cope with symptoms and difficulties related to depression.
It is unknown as to why there are so many comorbid conditions associated with having psoriasis. One theory is that many of these diseases share a common underlying link to being a part of a larger “systemic disorder of inflammation.” The hope is that, in time, research will be able to narrow in on the common features of these conditions to find the root cause of them all. Until then, it is wise to be aware of these common co-existing conditions so that you can either prevent them from happening in the first place or detect the early symptoms and get treated before it becomes a serious problem.
For more information and support for coping with the diagnosis of psoriasis or other chronic skin conditions please join us here on MySkinCareConnection.
Published On: November 15, 2010