Five ways in which extra pounds affect psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis-

Several researches have now highlighted that there is a link between excess pounds, psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis: in particular in obese people, skin lesions appear more serious, but the reasons are not yet fully clear. “Overweight and obesity increase the risk of psoriasis and arthritis and reduce the effectiveness of therapies – clarifies Maria Concetta Fargnoli, director of the general and oncological dermatology unit of the hospital in L’Aquila -. Much research is still underway to better understand the link between the two, but the picture is already much clearer today than even just a decade ago and one thing is certain: a balanced diet, constant physical activity and the normal weight contribute to improving the life of patients “.

The inflammatory state

First of all, there is a state of general inflammation at the basis of both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis and obesity and the more the organism is “inflamed” the more the skin manifestations are aggravated. “Numerous studies have now clearly demonstrated this: psoriasis is not just a problem that affects the skin, but must be framed as a” systemic “disease, that is, it affects the whole organism and can be associated with other diseases – explains Maria Concetta Fargnoli -. The increase in body mass index (BMI) and obesity seem to play a significant role in the onset of psoriatic disease and among the hypotheses put forward is the fact that adipose tissue produces hormones and releases adipokines into the blood. molecules that facilitate a state of general inflammation in the body ». The body mass index is obtained by dividing the weight (expressed in kilograms) by the square of the height. A BMI value of less than 25 indicates a person of normal weight; 25 to 30 are overweight; 30 to 40 indicates obesity and over 40 a severe form of obesity.

The link with other diseases

In addition to favoring the onset and influencing the course of the disease, the increase in BMI would predispose patients more to the risk of developing hypertension, dyslipidemia, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, which are fundamental aspects of the metabolic syndrome. “There no longer seem to be any doubts about the dangerous relationship between psoriasis, particularly if it is of a moderate-severe type, obesity and metabolic diseases (such as dyslipidemia, diabetes and arterial hypertension) which highlight the systemic nature of psoriasis” says the expert. A third way in which excess pounds affect the life of psoriasis is linked to the fact that skin lesions worsen precisely in the most delicate points, such as under the breasts and in the groin area, where a continuous rubbing of the skin (caused by the folds of body fat) can make the disorder much more extensive and painful as well as facilitate the onset of infections.

Less effective therapies

Then there is the fact that being obese makes certain therapies (such as modern biological drugs) less effective because if you weigh more the distribution of the drug must be greater in the body and therefore the drug ends up having a lower desired effect. Finally, a fifth in which the balance affects psoriatic disease concerns patients’ ability to move. “Those suffering from arthritis tend to move little because of the pain and this situation favors the onset of overweight and obesity, which overload the muscles and joints, especially those of the lower body (pelvis, knees and ankles) – concludes Fargnoli – . Similarly, even those who weigh too much find it hard to do physical activity, which is instead a real cure-all for everyone, and especially for these patients. In addition to all the good reasons to lose weight listed so far, it must be added that losing weight helps to reduce the pain due to arthritis, giving a feeling of well-being and energy ».

August 26, 2021 (change August 26, 2021 | 12:02 pm)

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