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Psoriasis is often thought of as just a skin problem with scaly red lesions. But more recent understanding has demonstrated that psoriasis is a systemic inflammatory disease associated with an increased risk of other health problems. Psoriatic arthritis develops in approximately 30% of psoriasis patients, with skin manifestations typically preceding joint problems by an average interval of 10 years. Inflammatory bowel disease has been reported to have a high rate of occurrence in people with psoriasis. Perhaps most notably psoriasis is associated with obesity and the metabolic syndrome, which is the triad of obesity, hyperlipidemia, and diabetes mellitus. Psoriasis is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease; chronic inflammation is a hallmark of both conditions. It is also possible that psoriasis increases the risk of congestive heart failure, but this link is not firmly established.
It is important that you inform your doctor of your complete medical history. A dermatologist experienced in treating psoriasis will take your other medical conditions and risk factors into account when determining your best treatment. In addition to topical agents, such as steroids, or excimer laser therapy, this may include systemic agents known as biologics, which can reduce the systemic inflammation associated with psoriasis.