How Psoriasis Affect Your Health

Psoriasis is a skin disease that results from a faulty immune system. Instead of only targeting viruses and bacteria, your immune system turns on healthy tissue. It attacks your skin, which speeds up how quickly your skin cells multiply.

Skin usually takes a month to grow and fall off. With psoriasis, the process takes only 3 or 4 days. Skin cells build up, causing thick, red patches called plaques. They’re often covered in white or silvery scales. Although plaques and scales can grow anywhere, they’re most common on your knees, elbows, and scalp.

Psoriasis usually first appears in young adults. No one knows for sure what causes the disease, but genetics play a role. It runs in families. You can’t spread psoriasis from person to person.

Once you have psoriasis, you’ll deal with the condition for the rest of your life. Most of the time, the disease flares up for a few weeks or months, followed by a stretch of fewer or no symptoms. Triggers, such as stress or infections, can set off a flare.

Psoriasis can be unpredictable. In some people, the disease stays mild for years. In others, it worsens quickly. The disease is also more than skin deep. The same inflammation that causes plaques and scales can affect your entire body. This sets the stage for other health issues.

For about a third of people with psoriasis, the immune system also attacks the joints. This triggers inflammation and swollen, painful joints. This condition is called psoriatic arthritis.

Psoriatic arthritis often appears 10 years after psoriasis develops. It can affect different parts of your body, such as your fingers, toes, and spine.

Other symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include:

  • Fatigue
  • Stiff, tender, swollen, and throbbing joints or tendons
  • Reduced range of motion

Although there’s no cure, a doctor can prescribe treatments to ease the pain and prevent permanent damage to your joints.

Along with harming joints, psoriasis can also weaken bones. Research shows that people with psoriasis are three times as likely to have bone loss, called osteopenia, and the bone disease osteoporosis. It also raises your risk of breaking a bone.

That’s because chronic inflammation can take a toll on your skeleton. People with psoriasis also tend to have low levels of bone-building vitamin D. What’s more, steroids — a common treatment for psoriasis — can weaken bones over time.

Psoriasis may affect the way your body metabolizes and stores energy. It puts you at greater risk for these conditions:

People with psoriasis are more likely be obese. The connection goes both ways: Extra weight triggers inflammation, which can set off or worsen the disease. On the flipside, psoriasis may lead to weight gain. When you’re in pain, you’re less inclined to get moving. Research shows that people with psoriasis exercise less. Likewise, you may also soothe yourself with food and wind up overeating.

Type 2 diabetes.
Chronic inflammation plays a role in diabetes. It increases the level of insulin-like growth factor (IGF), a hormone linked with insulin resistance (when your body stops responding to the hormone that helps it turn glucose into energy), and diabetes. One study found that those with mild psoriasis are 11% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, while those with serious cases have a 46% greater risk.

Psoriasis makes you up to three times as likely to have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). That’s when too much fat is stored in liver cells, which may lead to liver damage. Chronic inflammation may cause fat to build up in the liver.

Respiratory Problems

Chronic inflammation that affects your lungs can lead to breathing issues. Psoriasis ups your risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), an inflammatory lung disease. COPD blocks airflow from your lungs, which causes breathing trouble, coughing, and wheezing.

Psoriasis has also been linked with obstructive sleep apnea. With this condition, your throat muscles relax and interfere with your breathing while you sleep. Symptoms include snoring and waking up gasping or choking, along with daytime sleepiness. Talk to your doctor if you have any signs of sleep apnea; the condition can lead to heart problems.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here