Psoriasis is a chronic condition caused by inflammation. When this happens, the inflammation doesn’t distinguish which areas it affects, and you could end up with problems in multiple areas of the body including your organs.
Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory condition that can affect more areas of your body than just your skin.
In this article, you’ll learn how psoriasis can impact different organs and areas of your body, as well as which forms of psoriasis put you most at risk of these effects.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that can cause inflammation throughout your body. When you have psoriasis, your immune system is kicked into overdrive. Inflammatory immune cells that normally protect you from injury and infection are triggered and can damage your tissues or organs.
What is psoriasis?
Although your skin is the main organ affected by psoriasis, increased inflammation in your body can produce effects in other areas too.
Your brain can be affected by the inflammation that comes with psoriasis in several ways.
People with psoriasis report higher levels of anxiety and depression than their peers due to the challenges of living with the disease. In fact, about 62% of people with psoriasis link some level of depression to their psoriasis.
Outside of moods and emotional effects, psoriasis can also affect the health of your brain tissues.
Like psoriasis, there are many inflammatory conditions that can affect your brain, including dementia.
Although these two conditions may be linked by the inflammatory effects of either disease, researchers are at odds as to whether psoriasis increases your risk of developing cognitive issues such as dementia and vice versa.
Inflammation increases your risk of both heart attack and stroke. People with psoriasis have been found to have increased resistance in their veins that can reduce blood flow. This can lead to additional problems such as coronary artery disease and high blood pressure. One report alone estimates that high blood pressure affects about a third of all people with psoriasis.
Like your heart, your lungs are also susceptible to increased inflammation in your body. When you have an inflammatory condition, others may also follow. Asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and even pulmonary hypertension have been linked to psoriasis.
There’s also a link between the development of lung cancer after the use of certain medications to treat psoriasis, such as methotrexate.
Psoriasis and your lungs
Inflammatory diseases such as psoriasis can have a big impact on your breathing. You can read more about the impact of psoriasis on your lungs at Healthline.
Some topical treatments are used to treat psoriasis. But people with severe cases often turn to systemic medications, which treat the inflammation that develops with psoriasis on a larger scale.
Treating inflammation with medications that impact your entire body might help control your psoriasis and prevent certain complications, but it can also strain the health of your liver. Many of the medications used to treat psoriasis systemically are filtered through your liver. Over time, they can cause damage.
Metabolism and digestion
There are a lot of metabolic changes that can develop in people with psoriasis, but these are more likely the result of comorbidities and general inflammation than direct organ damage.
Obesity is a comorbidity that’s common in people with psoriasis. It can lead to a variety of concurring diseases and conditions such as metabolic syndrome or even diabetes. According to one 2021 study, between 27% and 50% of all people with psoriasis end up developing metabolic syndrome.
Psoriasis and gut health
Psoriasis and other inflammatory diseases can impact your gut health and digestion, but there’s also a link to obesity. Find out why.
It’s not really clear yet why, but research shows that there’s an association between psoriasis and poor bone health. People who have psoriasis are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis, bone fractures, or even just generally losing bone density.
It’s not really clear whether bone problems exist alongside psoriasis or because of it, but other research has hinted that decreased
Additionally, some medications used to treat psoriasis can lower your bone density. This includes many medications designed to calm your autoimmune response, such as prednisone and cyclosporine.
Bone pain or joint pain?
It can be difficult when you feel aches and pains to tell if the source is bone pain or joint pain. Psoriatic arthritis is a condition that can develop in people with psoriasis. When this condition appears, it’s the inflammation related to psoriasis causing swelling and pain in your joints.
Managing psoriatic arthritis may require different therapies and medications than your primary psoriasis.
Several conditions are linked to psoriasis, developing either as another condition alongside psoriasis or a complication caused by the disease. It’s not always clear which is the cause, but in either case, autoimmune conditions such as psoriasis are notorious for spurring other health complications.
The key to managing your psoriasis and preventing problems beyond your skin is to get prompt and effective treatment for your psoriasis. Controlling the strength of your body’s autoimmune response with systemic medication not only may clear your skin of psoriasis plaques, but it may also reduce systemic inflammation and the problems that can come with it.
When to get medical care
If your psoriasis is affecting your daily life, causing you pain, or limiting your activity, you should talk with a doctor or healthcare professional about your treatment options. Getting your psoriasis under control early can help you avoid other problems related to inflammation.
Psoriasis is a chronic condition caused by inflammation. When this happens, the inflammation doesn’t distinguish which areas it affects, and you could end up with problems in multiple areas of your body, including your organs.