Psoriasis is most commonly characterized by its effects on the skin. However, the condition can also affect other parts of the body. If you’re one of the 7.5 million people in the United States who has psoriasis, it’s important to know about some of the other conditions for which you may be at risk. The presence of one of these associated conditions can also influence treatment choice for your psoriasis.
As many as 10 to 30 percent of people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis, and an even larger percentage may not even know they have it. Some symptoms include pain or stiffness in your joints, swelling in your fingers and changes in your nails. You may also notice pain in your lower back, feet or ankles.
People with psoriasis may be at a greater risk for heart disease than those who don’t have it. Because the risks of high cholesterol, heart attacks and strokes seem to be greater for psoriasis sufferers, the risk of heart disease may also be increased.
In a study performed on 100,000 women with psoriasis, it was found that their risk for diabetes was 63 percent greater than that of women without psoriasis, and the same is likely to be true for men as well. Paying special attention to your blood sugar and maintaining a healthy diet can help reduce this risk.
While there is no cure, there are excellent treatment options for psoriasis that can lower the frequency of outbreaks and reduce symptoms. These include topical creams, prescription medications and even light therapy.
Psoriasis can, at times, be difficult to deal with. Yet, with the right knowledge of additional symptoms to look for and treatment options to reduce skin outbreaks, it can be a very manageable condition.