Knowledge is power - a statement which is very true to people living with psoriasis. If you have psoriasis you probably know that the condition is associated with a lot of related conditions. Recent studies have shown that psoriasis is especially linked to what is called Metabolic Syndrome.
Metabolic Syndrome represents a cluster of health-risks, and can therefore be somewhat complicated to wrap your head around. Luckily we’ve had our skilled team of scientific experts write a quick overview to help you understand both the condition, and why it’s important to know about it if you’re diagnosed with psoriasis:
What is Metabolic Syndrome?
- Metabolic Syndrome is a group of symptoms/risk factors which increase the risk for developing heart disease, diabetes and strokes
- It is diagnosed when any three of the following risk factors are present: Obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, low levels of “good cholesterol” (HDL) in the blood, high levels of triglycerides (fat) in the blood
The link between psoriasis and metabolic syndrome
- Based on 14 studies including a total of 25.042 patients with psoriasis, metabolic syndrome was found in 31.4% of the patients.
- The risk for metabolic syndrome is increased by 40% if you have psoriasis compared with the general population
- System inflammation is what links psoriasis with metabolic syndrome. Increased inflammation leads to psoriasis, as well as insulin resistance, which is the cells not being able to use insulin effectively, which in turn leads to high blood sugar. This leads to dysfunctional cells within the blood vessels, resulting in cardiovascular diseases.
Don’t let Psoriasis weigh you down
The connection between Psoriasis and Metabolic Syndrome is often most prevalent in people who are overweight. Studies have shown that weight loss has a significant effect on the severity of psoriasis. Not only did the studies show a tendency that indicated weight loss had long-lasting positive effects on psoriasis, but there was also a drop in both blood sugar and cholesterol, thus lessening the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
All these factors, implications and risks can be hard to fully unravel as the science is still not clear on the specific causes. But several studies show that even a small amount of weight loss can have an impact on the severity of psoriasis. All this give grounds to believe that keeping a healthy weight is of high importance in the overall treatment for your psoriasis and in keeping related conditions at bay.
We know that living with psoriasis can be a challenge, and having to lose weight is no easy task, but some simple tricks and advice might help you kick off your journey to a healthier version of you.
Focus your diet on fruit and vegetables, whole grains and lean meats, fish, beans and the likes.
Limit products containing trans fat, high levels of cholesterol and salt, as well as sugars.
Some psoriasis-patients benefit from an anti-inflammatory diet but the response is often based on the individual.
Make sure you get the right vitamins and supplements such as omega-3 acids and vitamin D
Keep a food diary to get an overview of your good and bad habits.
Plan your meals! This will make it easier for you to make healthy choices
Don’t rush! Losing weight in a pace that fits you will increase your chances of keeping the weight off in the long run.
Educate yourself on nutritional values! You’ll be surprised to learn what’s actually healthy and what’s not.
Start small! Depending on the severity of your psoriasis workouts can be challenging - find a level that fits your condition.
Find an activity you enjoy. New habits are hard, make it easier on yourself by doing something fun!
Get a workout buddy. Motivate each other when things get tough and share the victories!
Keep going! Results come over time and so does the reward.
Make a choice to reclaim control of your health today! Psoriasis can be hard as it is and making changes to your lifestyle will not only help you fight off any related conditions and relieve the symptoms of your psoriasis - it’s about a long-term change that can strengthen both your physical - and mental health, enabling you to focus on all the other things that make you who you are.
If you’re having a hard time finding motivation on your own, take a look at Team NPF founded by The National Psoriasis Foundation. Whether you have Psoriasis or you just want to fight for the cause, you can participate in all kinds of activities, raising awareness and sharing stories on how to thrive and live a healthy life with psoriasis
J Am Acad Dermatol. 2017 Oct;77(4):657-666.e8. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2017.04.1133.