By Yolanda Smith, BPharm
Although psoriasis is a chronic condition with no known cure, with the appropriate treatment and management techniques, the symptoms can usually be well controlled and allow patients to live uninhibited lives.
Particularly patients with severe symptoms of psoriasis may be associated with poorer quality of life and overall health outcomes than members of the general population. This is likely due to a number of factors, including related health conditions and the treatments used for the condition.
Remission and Flare-Ups
The nature of the symptoms of psoriasis is not constant and it is normal for them to vary in severity over time with remissions and exacerbations.
Approximately half of all patients will experience periods of remission, which can vary greatly in length. Psoriatic arthritis is a complication of psoriasis that affects approximately 1 in 10 of patients with psoriasis.
As a result of these remissions and flare-ups, the quality of life of patients with psoriasis can vary significantly over different time periods, depending on the level of impediment.
The quality of life for patients with psoriasis can be greatly altered due to the effects of the disease. Scientific research has suggested that the physical and mental disability associated with moderate to severe cases of psoriasis is similar to that experienced with other chronic health conditions, such as heart disease and cancer.
Of particular concern, many patients with psoriasis are affected by depression, secondary to the condition. This can alter their ability to enjoy life and participate in social activities as usual, and in severe cases it may lead to suicide.
Patients with mild psoriasis are not associated with higher rates of mortality than the general population and the life expectancy is considered to be equal.
However, the mortality rates may be affected in severe cases of the disease. Several studies with sample population of men and women have shown that patients with severe cases of the disease are linked to death three to five years early than the control group population.
Psoriasis is related to several other factors, including:
- Alcohol consumption
- Metabolic syndrome
- Cardiovascular disease
- Respiratory diseases
- Kidney disease
These factors may also account for the mortality changes noted in patients with severe psoriasis. In comparison to the healthy control group, patients with mild psoriasis are 11% more likely, and patients with severe psoriasis are 35% more likely, to suffer from these conditions.
In many cases, it is a resulting health condition such as heart disease that is responsible for causing changes in mortality rates for patients with psoriasis.
Effect of Treatments
For the vast majority of cases, the affected area is localized to small patches of the body, often around the elbows and knees, and can be managed with simple topical treatments.
In severe cases, the treatments required to control the psoriatic symptoms can have harsh adverse effects and may increase the risk of other health conditions, such as skin cancer, lymphoma and liver disease. For this reason, it is prudent to consider the benefits and risk of treatments used for psoriasis, in order to improve the overall quality of life.
Last Updated: Nov 11, 2015