How Psoriasis Can Lead to Other Inflammatory Diseases
Chronic inflammation is at the heart of psoriasis, and the same goes for other serious conditions like heart disease, insulin resistance, obesity, and as it turns out, asthma.
In fact, experts insist that psoriasis not only shares common characteristics, but it could also be a precursor to other inflammatory diseases, which makes self-monitoring extra important.
But while a healthy diet, better cardiovascular fitness, and weight control are helpful steps to protect the heart and metabolism, preventing inflammation in the airways can call for a different approach.
How Asthma Risk Rises with Psoriasis
Recent research shows an undeniable connection between asthma and psoriasis. A large study published in British Association of Dermatologists followed a group of over 10,000 psoriasis patients as well as a control group of over 40,000 people without psoriasis.
At the end of the study, they found that those with psoriasis were, on average, about 40% more likely to develop asthma than those without psoriasis. Moreover, asthma risk appears to rise with age – psoriasis patients over 60 were more likely to suffer from asthma than younger patients.
Although the underlying cause isn’t entirely clear, psoriasis and asthma do have a couple of important characteristics in common, which might help to explain the link. For one, psoriasis and asthma are disorders of the body’s natural inflammatory response, where natural protective mechanisms spiral out of control.
Secondly, both conditions occur in tissues that separate the internal body from the outside world – in psoriasis, the skin bears the inflammatory symptoms, and in asthma, it is the lining of the lungs and airways that become inflamed.
Treatments to Target Asthma and Psoriasis
There are several methods to control psoriasis and asthma flares, but for some people, it’s difficult to find relief from the ongoing symptoms. Since recent studies point to a probable connection between the conditions, researchers used their common characteristics as a jumping-off point to develop better treatments for both psoriasis and asthma:
Improving the Body’s Barriers
Skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis and breathing issues like allergies and asthma share the same sort of tissue malfunction: membranes lose their ability to protect against allergens, which allows these irritants to enter the body and cause an inflammatory response.
In psoriasis, skin cells become more porous, then grow rapidly, then break down, then regrow – the cycle that causes your scaly, red, itchy plaques. In asthma attacks triggered by allergic reaction, the lining of the lungs weaken to allow the allergens to penetrate the tissue and airways.
Research into better topical treatments that can strengthen the natural barrier (the skin or lung lining) is ongoing, and improving.
Next page: are allergy treatments helpful?