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Give Your Psoriasis TLC

Smooth, clear skin. With today’s treatments, it’s more achievable than ever. But keep this in mind: Psoriasis is an inflammatory disease that can affect other parts of your body, too.

If you have any of these symptoms not related to your skin, review them with your doctor.

Your heart

People with psoriasis are 21% more likely to have a heart attack (and 54% more likely to suffer a stroke), according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology.

What to watch for:

  • Chest pain, tightness or discomfort
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath with activity
  • Tingling down arm
  • Unusual stomach pain, nausea or indigestion
  • Sudden awakening from sleep with shortness of breath

What you can do:

  • Get regular screenings (blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol)
  • Maintain a low-fat, high-fiber diet with lean sources of protein, such as fish and poultry
  • Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity at least five days a week
  • Achieve a healthy weight
  • Don’t smoke

Your emotional well-being

People with psoriasis are more likely than people without the disease to suffer from depression or anxiety.

What to watch for:

  • Persistent sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities

What you can do:

  • Discuss your symptoms with your doctor and with those close to you
  • Eat a healthy diet and get regular activity
  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule
  • Find a stress-reduction technique that works for you

Your joints

Nearly one in three people with psoriasis may develop psoriatic arthritis, a painful form of arthritis that can cause permanent joint damage.

What to watch for:

  • Joints that are swollen, tender, stiff, red or hot to the touch
  • Sausage-like fingers and toes; or changes to your nails, such as pitting or separation from the nail bed

What you can do:

  • Report symptoms to your doctor ASAP — early treatment is necessary to prevent permanent joint damage