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Better Psoriasis Management: Reducing Your Risk of Complications

You may think of psoriasis as a skin disease, but it's deeper than that. Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition in which your body attacks healthy tissue, including skin. Without treatment, the attacks may spread to other organs, too. 



Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that afflicts about 3% of women, men, and children around the world. Psoriasis usually manifests as a chronic rash that may develop into red or silvery plaques all over your body.

The root of psoriasis is an overactive immune system that attacks healthy tissue, including skin cells. But the inflammation in psoriasis can affect other organs, too, leading to complications in other organs.


At Central Utah Dermatology, our medical dermatology experts and our aesthetic team help you control your psoriasis with a variety of customized treatments. At our Richfield, Utah, office, we help keep you comfortable in your skin and also reduce your risk for complications.


What can happen if you don’t treat or manage psoriasis? Following are some of the complications of this chronic autoimmune condition. 


Psoriatic arthritis

Approximately one third of psoriasis sufferers go on to develop a complication called psoriatic arthritis (PA). As with other forms of arthritis, PA manifests as joints that are stiff and often painful, too. 


In addition to taking medications or having treatments to control your psoriasis, lifestyle changes you adopt for PA can help your skin, too. Make sure you:

  • Exercise daily

  • Eat a whole-foods diet

  • Avoid pro-inflammatory foods

  • Reduce or manage stress

  • Quit smoking

  • Reduce or eliminate alcohol


If you need help making lifestyle changes, let us know. We can recommend support groups, cessation programs that help you gain control over your skin health and overall health, too.


Movement is essential to PA, as it is to all forms of arthritis. Moving stiff, painful joints actually helps them self-lubricate and stay healthier. Staying immobile may lead to permanent stiffness and even deformity.


Hair loss

Not surprisingly, a disease that affects your skin also affects your scalp skin. Your scalp can develop red, scaly patches. The disease affects your follicles, too, so that your hair may start to fall out.

 

In fact, you could lose large clumps of hair in a very short time. While you may be able to hide psoriasis on your arms and trunk, it’s harder to hide hair loss. Wigs and hats may work outdoors but may be too hot and constricting indoors.

In addition to customizing a treatment plan, we recommend getting support from other psoriasis sufferers while your hair grows back. Peer support helps you manage stress, too, which may improve your psoriasis overall.


Trouble seeing

One of the most disturbing complications of psoriasis is inflammation that affects your eyes. Your eyes may become red, dry, and itchy. Worse, without treatment you may develop:

  • Blurry vision

  • Asymmetrical pupils

  • Sensitivity to light

  • Permanent vision loss


Psoriasis may affect one eye or both. If you notice changes in your vision, contact your ophthalmologist immediately for an evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment.


Lymphoma and other conditions

Although researchers don’t yet understand exactly why, women and men with psoriasis are at increased risk for a type of cancer called lymphoma. It could be the stress that the disease puts on your lymphatic system, which is part of your immune system, wears it down over time.


Untreated or uncontrolled psoriasis also increases your risk for other conditions, many of which are triggered by inflammation. These include:

  • Cardiovascular disease

  • Ischemic heart disease

  • Mitral valve prolapse

  • Infections

  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)


Not all of these risks are associated with all racial and ethnic groups. White people with psoriasis are more at risk for IBD, for instance, while Asian people have a decreased risk.


Depression and anxiety

Any chronic disease increases your risk for anxiety and depression. Unfortunately, when you worry about your health, it increases the stress on your body and can, in turn, worsen the disease.


Be sure to find ways to manage stress, including deep breathing, exercise, and support groups. You may benefit from counseling, to help reframe ideas about your disease. Getting treatment for your psoriasis can also have psychological benefits, as you witness your flares decreasing in severity and number.


Take control of psoriasis by getting the customized diagnosis and treatment your skin and body need to thrive. Call our friendly office team or use our online booking form for psoriasis treatment today.

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