Beyond Skin: Psoriasis and Health Risks
More than 7 million Americans experience psoriasis, the skin condition that creates dry, scaly, painful, and itchy patches of skin. Typical locations for psoriasis include the joints, face, neck, trunk, arms, hands, feet, and scalp.
The problem with psoriasis does not end at the skin. One in every three people with psoriasis also develop psoriatic arthritis, in which joint pain adds to the misery of this condition. Several studies also indicate that psoriasis can be associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. This unfortunate association seems to be stronger in those with more severe cases of psoriasis. This means that people with psoriasis (and their health care providers) should be particularly alert to signs of cardiovascular disease, as well as work to minimize other cardiovascular risk factors.
Similarly, new research has found that people with more severe psoriasis – such as psoriasis covering more than 10% of their body area – are at an increased risk of also developing type 2 diabetes. This association holds true in the research, even after adjusting for other diabetes risk factors, such as age, gender, and body weight. As with cardiovascular disease, people with more severe psoriasis should aim to reduce their other risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
Psoriasis is known to have a genetic component, as well as to be worsened by stress, infections, certain medications, and cold weather. Medications to treat psoriasis include:
- topical corticosteroids
- vitamin D analogues
- topical retinoids
- oral retinoids
- immune-mediating biologics (e.g., Enbrel, Remicade, Humira, Stelara, Otezla, Cosentyx, and Taltz)
BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy is here and ready to help psoriasis patients access medications to improve their quality of life.
Jindal S, Jindal N. Psoriasis and cardiovascular diseases: A literature review to determine the causal relationship. Cureus 2018;10(2):e2195.
Wan M, et al. Psoriasis and the risk of diabetes: A prospective population-based cohort study. J Am Acad Dermatol 2018;78:315-22.