8 Possible Psoriasis Complications (and How to Reduce Your Risk)

Mar 01, 2024
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Psoriasis isn’t just a chronic skin condition — it’s an inflammatory autoimmune disorder that increases your risk of developing a myriad of serious health complications. Learn more about these risks, and find out how you can mitigate them.

Psoriasis doesn’t just leave your skin feeling sore, itchy, dry, and prone to cracking. This inflammatory autoimmune disease also puts you at risk of developing a wide range of serious complications that can diminish your health and undermine your well-being.   

As board-certified dermatologists who specialize in helping patients of all ages gain the upper hand over psoriasis, our expert team at Florida Dermatology Associates knows that effective psoriasis control means: 

  • Keeping inflammation down
  • Identifying and avoiding triggers
  • Maintaining clear, healthy skin
  • Reducing flare-up reoccurrence
  • Protecting your overall health

Here, we discuss the mechanisms behind psoriasis flares and complications — and explain how effective psoriasis control reduces your risk of developing health problems.   

A short tutorial on psoriasis 

Characterized by episode “flare-ups” that prompt the formation of thick, scaly patches (plaques), psoriasis is a chronic skin disease that causes rapid epidermal tissue growth — rather than forming over a week, new skin cells appear in a matter of days. 

Specific triggers (i.e., stress) typically set off psoriasis flares that prompt an excessive and erratic autoimmune response. As your immune cells erroneously attack your epidermal cells, your inflamed skin quickly develops dry, itchy psoriasis plaques.    

Eight psoriasis complications

Uncontrolled psoriasis doesn’t just impact your skin; the inflammatory state it triggers can have wide-ranging adverse effects on the rest of your body, too. Here’s a closer look at eight common psoriasis comorbidities, or conditions that are far more likely to emerge when you have psoriasis:   

1. Psoriatic arthritis 

Nearly one in three people (30%) with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis, an inflammatory form of arthritis characterized by joint pain, stiffness, and swelling, as well as fatigue, skin redness, and fingernail or toenail changes. It usually affects several joints. 

2. Metabolic syndrome

The ongoing inflammatory nature of psoriasis can set the stage for metabolic syndrome, a collection of co-occurring conditions (obesity, high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels, and insulin resistance) that make type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, kidney disease, heart disease, heart attack, and stroke more likely. 

3. Celiac disease  

People with psoriasis are more likely to have antibodies for celiac disease, suggesting a link between the two. Studies show that people with psoriasis are more likely to develop celiac disease and vice versa. Researchers believe this is because both diseases share similar genetic links and inflammatory pathways.  

4. Inflammatory bowel disease

Psoriasis also shares genetic links and disease pathways with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Research shows that people with psoriasis are nearly twice as likely to develop Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis compared to those without skin disease. 

5. Eye problems 

Psoriasis has an increased risk of eye complications, ranging from conjunctivitis (pink eye infection) and blepharitis (eyelid inflammation) to dry eye and cataracts. Likewise, people with psoriatic arthritis are far more likely to develop uveitis, an inflammatory eye disease that affects the middle layer of tissue in the eye wall. 

6. Hearing loss 

More recently, experts have established a strong connection between psoriatic arthritis and hearing loss. Current research suggests that psoriasis with arthritis may damage the inner ear and lead to gradual hearing impairment or sudden sensorineural hearing loss.   

7. Certain cancers

Having psoriasis puts you at an increased overall risk of developing cancer, as well as a higher risk of developing specific kinds of cancer, including lymphoma, skin cancer (both squamous cell and basal cell carcinomas), oral and esophageal cancers, and liver and pancreatic cancers.  

8. Depression and anxiety

Living with an incurable autoimmune disease can take a heavy toll on both your physical and mental health. With its high level of psychological distress and significant life impact, psoriasis increases your risk of low self-esteem, isolation, depression, and anxiety. 

Staying healthy with psoriasis

Fortunately, adhering to a comprehensive psoriasis treatment plan can alleviate your symptoms, control the condition, and reduce your risk of complications, which include:

  • Knowing and avoiding all your psoriasis triggers
  • Sticking with a psoriasis-friendly skin care regimen 
  • Using oral/topical medications as recommended 
  • Incorporating interventional treatments as needed 

It also means leading a healthy lifestyle, maintaining a healthy weight, seeing your primary care provider for annual preventive exams, and having routine eye exams.  

With insight, awareness, expert guidance, and an individualized treatment approach, you can control psoriasis and protect your health — and we’re here to help.

Book an appointment by clicking online or calling your nearest Florida Dermatology Associates office in Palm Bay, Cocoa Beach, Cocoa, Melbourne, Titusville, or Rockledge, Florida, today.