Did you know that psoriasis isn’t just a skin disease? It comes as a surprise to many patients. In fact, psoriasis is associated with multiple internal problems, such as lymphoma, heart diseases, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome, obesity, arthritis, depression, smoking, alcohol abuse, and lung disease.
The inflammation you see on your skin is happening under the skin as well. Therefore, I counsel all my patients about these risks. Systemic treatments, such as with biologics, can help decrease some of these risks as well.
Here are my quotes:
“The findings aren’t new, said Gary Goldenberg, MD, medical director of the dermatology faculty practice at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, but they confirm that the worse psoriasis gets, the more likely a patient is to have other, potentially deadly, conditions.”
“It’s a mistake to think that psoriasis is just a skin disease,” Dr. Goldenberg said. “We now know that it’s a disease of systemic inflammation. On the skin, psoriasis shows as red, inflamed patches. Similar inflammation likely occurs throughout the body, which can lead to diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.”
“Goldenberg said he makes sure to warn all his patients who are diagnosed with psoriasis that they need to take steps to avoid these diseases, and informs their doctors.”
“Lots of psoriasis patients are overweight,” he said, “so I encourage them to lose weight. I also write a letter to their primary doctor to let them know that psoriasis is associated with these other conditions, and that they should screen for them.”
“Informing their doctor allows physicians to test for diabetes, heart disease and other conditions more frequently, which is the best way to combat them, Goldenberg added. Many people with psoriasis will develop another deadly condition, and it’s important to get screened frequently, eat a proper diet and exercise.”
“It’s really about catching these diseases early so it’s not too late when they do occur,” Goldenberg said.