Getting a psoriasis diagnosis can be challenging. While there are treatments that can keep your symptoms under control, it may take some trial and error to find the right one. Those with psoriasis are also at a higher risk of developing other health conditions. Knowing these conditions will help you and your care team monitor your health.
Here are nine conditions you should be watching out for if you have psoriasis and the steps you can take to protect yourself.
Some diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis affect those living with psoriasis at a higher rate. Why does this happen? Researchers are still trying to figure that out.
“There’s no specific answer to the ‘chicken-and-egg’ question,” Shivani Kaushik, M.D., an assistant professor at the Rutgers Center for Dermatology, tells SELF adding that the diseases may be linked because they all cause inflammation in the body. “For many patients who have extensive psoriasis, there is no doubt that they have inflammation going on inside as well,” she says.
How to protect yourself
You can’t avoid developing autoimmune disorders altogether, however, it helps to monitor your psoriasis on a regular basis. This includes taking your medications and contacting your doctor if you have new or worsening flare-ups. It may also help to create a plan to keep inflammation under control, SELF notes.
Psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune condition with a direct connection to those living with psoriasis. Psoriatic arthritis, which occurs when the immune system starts to attack healthy joints and tendons typically develops seven to 10 years after the onset of psoriasis symptoms.
This doesn’t automatically mean you will develop psoriatic arthritis, however.
Only about 20 to 30 percent of people with psoriasis are eventually diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, according to a study. What’s more a small number of people with psoriatic arthritis have no preexisting psoriasis symptoms, according to Medline Plus.
“We do know certain kinds of psoriasis patients tend to have higher chances of developing psoriatic arthritis,” including scalp psoriasis and inverse psoriasis, according to Samar Gupta, M.D., an associate professor at the University of Michigan Medical School and the chief of VA clinical rheumatology and medical education.
How to protect yourself
If you begin to experience joint pain, notify your doctor immediately. Early detection is key because the earlier you start treatment, the better your odds of preventing psoriatic arthritis-related joint damage.
Psoriasis can cause chronic inflammation, which can lead to fat and cholesterol buildup in your arteries. If you develop