Unlike any other skin disease, psoriasis is an immune system disorder, which sees the white blood cells (also known as T cells or T lymphocytes) in your immune system being activated by accident, resulting in rapid skin cell growth on various parts of your body. These fast-rising cells which accumulate on your skin will cause patches of thick, red skin with silvery scales to form, which will also be accompanied by itching, and painful sensations.
To date, there is no known cure for psoriasis, with treatment being focused solely on minimising or eliminating symptoms. To compound this, untreated psoriasis is also largely linked with several chronic diseases such as the following:
According to research, psoriasis has been linked with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, especially amongst individuals who are suffering from psoriasis developed at a young age. Research has also found that 58 percent of individuals with psoriasis are more likely to suffer from a major cardiac arrest. Not only that, 43 percent of these same individuals studied have been found to be at risk of suffering from a stroke during their lifetime.
These research findings have also been further validated through the discovery that both diseases share common risk factors, which include smoking, obesity, and stress. If left untreated, individuals suffering from psoriasis may also be at an increased risk of experiencing irregular heartbeat, high cholesterol, atherosclerosis, or peripheral artery disease.
Psoriasis has also been associated with the development of different forms of inflammatory bowel disease, which include Crohn’s disease. This is mainly attributed to both diseases having similar genetic mutations. As with psoriasis, Crohn’s disease causes the body to mistake healthy tissues for foreign cells and kill them. This in turn leads to a chronic inflammation of your digestive tract, which can cause you to suffer abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, and malnutrition.
In addition, Crohn’s disease and psoriasis share a similar link to obesity. This is primarily because fat tissue produces chemicals which affect the functionality of your body, including your immune system. Therefore, not taking the right steps in treating psoriasis effectively can increase your risk of Crohn’s disease and make your body less responsive to treatment of either disease as well.
Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are closely related but both diseases can affect your body differently. Also, neither disease has the capability of predicting the other. This means that some individuals who develop psoriasis may not necessarily develop psoriatic arthritis, while some individuals with psoriatic arthritis may not have a history of psoriasis.
However, psoriatic arthritis can also be caused by untreated psoriasis, affecting the smaller joints of your fingers, larger joints of your body, or your spine. Not taking the right steps to treat this form of arthritis can cause permanent damage, or worse, loss of function in your joints.
Type 2 Diabetes
Given that both these diseases can cause chronic inflammation in your body, it comes as no surprise that ineffective treatment of psoriasis can lead to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. This is largely due to the fact that both diseases are affected by bad lifestyle habits such as smoking cigarettes, consuming excessive alcohol, and practicing an unhealthy diet.
Interestingly, there are medicines which can be prescribed by a doctor to help you keep your diabetes in check, while easing your symptoms of psoriasis. This is possible because it slows down your immune system, which in turn is able to ease inflammation throughout your body. On the other hand, there are certain medicines used to treat psoriasis which can raise your blood sugar levels and make diabetes much harder to control. These medications include steroids and cyclosporine, which are used to reduce inflammation.
Not managing psoriasis effectively has also been proven to increase your risk of certain types of cancer, although it is still unclear why. However, the common link between both diseases appears to be inflammation. In fact, a research review of 37 studies and articles has suggested that psoriasis may increase your risk of developing cancers of the digestive tract, liver, respiratory tract, pancreas, and urinary tract.
A separate study has also indicated that individuals suffering from psoriasis were also more likely to develop non-melanoma skin cancers, lymphoma cancers, and cancers of the oral cavity, larynx, pharynx, colon, lung, and kidney.
It is important to note that having psoriasis does not necessarily mean you will develop any of the above diseases. However, it is still vital that you take the right steps in ensuring that you manage the condition effectively to avoid risk of developing other chronic diseases. This starts with doing away with all bad habits which may double up as risk factors for inflammation. If you do experience frequent or severe flare-ups, it might be time to seek consultation with a healthcare professional to devise a treatment plan for effective mitigation of psoriasis symptoms.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.