Psoriasis is more than a skin condition. It causes widespread inflammation throughout your body. Inflammation can have a big impact on a lot of aspects of your health and put you at risk for other chronic conditions.
If you recently received a diagnosis of psoriasis, it can be stressful and overwhelming. You’ll probably have a lot of questions but may not always know how to put them into words.
You may also feel that your diagnosing doctor didn’t fully inform you on how psoriasis will affect issues outside just your skin’s health.
This article will give you a jumping-off point for questions to ask a doctor as well as some more information on ways psoriasis will affect the rest of your body.
Though everyone will respond to the condition differently, your mental health is as important a consideration in your care as treating the physical symptoms themselves.
A lot of people feel uncomfortable with psoriasis due to the very visible nature of this condition. It can lead to embarrassment, social isolation, and the development of mental health conditions.
You may find it helpful to talk with a doctor about this early in your treatment. Some questions to consider regarding your mental health can include:
- Are there any local support groups?
- Do you have a therapist you recommend that has dealt with other people with psoriasis?
- Do you know of any group sessions for psoriasis-related mental health care?
Evidence suggests that the choices you make can affect your psoriasis. While no lifestyle change will fully cure psoriasis, some of the choices you make may help.
Diet is one area that you can control that may make a difference. There’s no official dietary recommendation from any sources, but organizations like the National Psoriasis Foundation recommend diets that focus on fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins.
More specifically, they recommend making changes to your diet that support heart health. This can include limiting processed foods and red meats and eating more lean meats, vegetables, fruits, complex carbs, and healthy fats, like olive oil.
Another consideration is exercise. In a
Other considerations can include:
- getting enough quality sleep
- reducing stress
- finding ways to stay connected socially
Weight can play a role in the severity of psoriasis.
You can ask a doctor for tips on either losing or maintaining weight. They can help assess your starting fitness level and help provide some guidance on getting started with exercise or dietary changes properly. They can also help review current medical conditions and medications to help determine how these interact.
Whether you have insurance or not, psoriasis treatment requires ongoing expenses from different therapies and medications. There may be programs and other financial aids that can help you lower the costs associated with treatment.
The National Psoriasis Foundation notes that there are several options available to both insured and uninsured people. They can include:
- Copay card: This card helps with the cost of copays when purchasing medication.
- Patient Assistance Programs: These programs help lower costs for people with or without insurance who can’t afford treatments.
- Shopping around for care: Different pharmacies or providers may offer lower prices, so it may help to check out some options available in your area.
- Health Centers: Federally funded facilities that offer sliding scale costs based on what you can reasonably afford.
You can use this tool to find local Health Centers.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder associated with inflammation that occurs throughout your body. Inflammation is an underlying cause or risk factor for many health conditions.
About 30% of people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis often within 10 years of their initial diagnosis. Psoriatic arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis that can cause joint pain and stiffness. It can result in loss of function as well deformity when not well managed.
In addition to psoriatic arthritis, if you are living with psoriasis, you have a higher risk of developing the following comorbidities:
- cardiovascular disease
- metabolic syndromes
- dyslipidemia, or higher levels of lipids and cholesterol
- inflammatory bowel disease
- depression and anxiety
- kidney disease
- sleep apnea
- liver disease
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- kidney disease
Managing your psoriasis effectively may help with lowering your risk of developing other health conditions. You can ask a doctor about screening tests as well as talk with them about ways to help further reduce your chances of developing additional health conditions.