5 Surprising Ways Psoriatic Arthritis Can Affect Your Health

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Psoriatic arthritis is most commonly associated with joint pain. Like psoriasis, it’s an autoimmune disorder that commonly targets the skin; in the case of psoriatic arthritis, the immune system also targets the joints. But the disease can affect many parts of the body, and its symptoms vary widely. “[Psoriatic arthritis] causes a lot of inflammation,” says Christopher Ritchlin, MD, MPH, a rheumatologist from the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York. “I don’t think many patients fully understand that if you have inflammation, you’re at risk for inflammation in other areas of the body.”

Here are five organs that can be affected by psoriatic disease.

1. Psoriatic Arthritis and Your Heart

According to a meta-analysis published in April 2016 in the journal Arthritis Care and Research, people with psoriatic arthritis were 43 percent more likely to have or develop heart disease compared with the general population. They also had a 31 percent higher risk of heart failure.

“The reason patients are at risk is not entirely known,” says Dr. Ritchlin. People with psoriatic arthritis more commonly develop metabolic syndrome a cluster of conditions that increase the risk of heart disease and other health problems. “But there are patients with psoriatic arthritis who do not have metabolic syndrome and are still at an increased risk for heart events,” he says.

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