If you thought having one life-long condition was tough, imagine having two or more. Research suggests that individuals with one autoimmune disease are at a greater risk for developing a second. And psoriasis is no exception.
Autoimmune Diseases and Co-morbidity
Does having an autoimmune disorder increase your risk of comorbidity, or “the simultaneous presence of two or more diseases or medical conditions in a patient”?
Researchers have been seeking the answer to this question for decades.
And while statistics and data may vary, researchers have discovered that about 25 percent of patients living with an autoimmune disorder also have another.
And in individuals living with psoriasis, these co-occurring diseases typically have similar pathogenic factors.
1. Heart Disease
Heart disease (also known as cardiovascular disease or CVD), is an umbrella term used to describe conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, arrhythmia (irregular heart beat), and heart valve problems.
Heart disease is known as the number one silent killer, affecting approximately 30 percent of Americans and causing upwards of 650,000 deaths per year.
CVD is also the leading cause of death in psoriasis patients, and is said to be linked to the inflammation psoriasis causes.
A 2019 study on the correlation between psoriasis and cardiovascular diseases confirmed the same theory that was discovered in a similar study back in 2009 - that individuals living with psoriasis have an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Tying into heart disease, we have obesity.
Obesity, a chronic disease considered to be both genetic and environmental, may increase the risk of developing heart disease.
Other concerns of obesity are typically hypertension (high blood pressure), dyslipidemia (high cholesterol), and diabetes (resistance to insulin).
According to several studies, obesity is an independent risk factor for the onset and severity of psoriasis.
In one of our latest blogs, we discussed how certain foods and diet play a role in the exacerbation and severity of psoriasis. Click here to check it out.
3. Psoriatic Arthritis
Psoriatic arthritis, also known as PsA, is another comorbidity of psoriasis that causes pain and stiffness in the joints.
In fact, psoriatic arthritis is the most common comorbidity of psoriasis and affects between 30-33% of those already diagnosed with psoriasis.
Though the condition can develop at any age, it’s more commonly seen in adults aged 30 to 50.
4. Anxiety and Depression
It may come as no surprise that a chronic, lifelong condition weighs heavily on your mental state.
In our last blog about 5 Psoriasis Struggles, we discussed how living with psoriasis has actually been linked to an increased risk of developing mental disorders along both the psychotic and neurotic spectrums.
Along with fear of rejection and self-stigmatization, evidence also suggests that psoriasis and depression share similar attributes.
This 2020 study suggests that supporting evidence links inflammatory overlap, genetic evidence, low vitamin D3, and melatonin levels to both psoriasis and depression.
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