Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that affects the skin. People with psoriasis may have other health conditions present at the same time. These are called comorbidities.

Psoriasis is an immune-mediated condition that causes a faster buildup of skin cells than normal. This overgrowth leads to lesions or scaly patches on a person’s skin.

People with psoriasis often experience other conditions alongside it. These comorbidities share common links and associations with psoriasis.

This article will outline some common psoriasis comorbidities and explain what links them to the condition.

Two friends eating.Share on Pinterest
Igor Bostanika/Getty Images

Although scientists do not fully understand what causes psoriasis, they believe that a person’s immune cells and genes can play a significant role. In psoriasis, T cells responsible for cell-mediated immunity release inflammatory cytokines, leading to a skin cell production overdrive.

Elevated cytokine levels due to a hyperactive immune system can trigger harmful levels of inflammation throughout the body, disrupting multiple organ system functions and causing other medical conditions.

People with psoriasis have an increased risk of developing at least one autoimmune disorder or comorbidity.

According to a 2015 study, the effective treatment of psoriasis can reduce a person’s risk of developing comorbidities associated with the condition.

People with psoriasis may experience a range of other health conditions, including:

Psoriatic arthritis

If a person with psoriasis experiences symptoms of stiffness, swelling, and pain in the joints, they may have psoriatic arthritis (PsA). According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, about 3 in 10 people with psoriasis develop PsA.

Although it can occur at any age, it often appears in people aged 30–50 years. PsA usually develops 7–10 years after skin-related symptoms first appear, although not everyone with PsA has psoriasis first.

Learn more about PsA.


Psoriasis and diabetes are risk factors for each other. This means that a person with psoriasis may have an increased risk of developing diabetes and vice versa.

A 2019 review suggests that type 2 diabetes is more prevalent among people with psoriasis than among the general population. Researchers are still studying the connection, but evidence indicates that systemic inflammation may play a role in increasing insulin resistance. People with type 2 diabetes cannot make or use insulin effectively, leading to elevated blood sugar levels.

Learn more about diabetes.

Cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease comprises different conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels. According to a study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, people with psoriasis have up to a 50% higher chance of developing cardiovascular conditions such as ischemic stroke and heart attack.

A 2018 review suggests that the increased risk may be due to high levels of inflammatory cytokines in the blood promoting systemic inflammation.

Learn more about cardiovascular disease.

Metabolic syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a group of medical conditions that affects a person’s metabolism and cardiovascular health.

Doctors may diagnose a person with metabolic syndrome if they have three or more of the conditions that increase the risk of cardiovascular issues. These conditions include high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, high triglycerides, low levels of good cholesterol, and a large waistline.

A 2017 study found a significantly higher prevalence of metabolic syndrome among people with psoriasis than among people without the condition.

Learn more about metabolic syndrome.


High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a cardiovascular condition in which the force of the blood in the blood vessels is too high. People with psoriasis are more likely than other people to have high blood pressure.

Research suggests that people with psoriasis may have high levels of angiotensin-converting enzymes, which contribute to elevated blood pressure.

Learn more about high blood pressure.

Anxiety and depression

A 2020 study indicates that people with psoriasis are 1.5 times more likely than those without the condition to have symptoms of depression. In addition, 20–50% of people with psoriasis have anxiety symptoms. It is possible that the social and physical burden of the disease is responsible, at least in part, for these mental health symptoms.

A 2017 review implies that elevated inflammatory cytokines may drive biochemical changes that lead to depression and other mood disorders in people with psoriasis.

Learn more about depression.

Inflammatory bowel disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of conditions that causes inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. People primarily use IBD to refer to ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

Research from 2019 suggests that people with psoriasis are 1.6 times more likely than the general population to have ulcerative colitis and 2.5 times more likely to have Crohn’s disease.

A 2018 review and meta-analysis indicates that psoriasis and IBD have genetic similarities in some genes.

Learn more about IBD.


Cancer is a disease that occurs when abnormal cells rapidly multiply, destroying healthy tissues and organs.

A 2019 review of 58 observational studies found that people with psoriasis may have an increased risk of some cancers, including lymphoma, throat cancer, pancreatic cancer, and liver cancer.

A 2020 review highlights the high risk of some additional site-specific cancers, especially lung cancer and non-melanoma skin cancer, in people with psoriasis. The authors suggest that the increased risk may be due to a combination of the chronic inflammatory response, common risk factors, and the effect of the immunosuppressants that doctors use to treat psoriasis.

Learn more about cancer.

Other related conditions

Other possible psoriasis comorbidities include:

In a 2021 study involving 128 people with psoriasis, 53.9% of the participants also had at least one comorbidity.

Although there is no cure for psoriasis, people can reduce their likelihood of developing comorbidities by getting an early diagnosis, following a treatment plan, and making appropriate lifestyle modifications.

Psoriasis is a complicated health condition with a vast number of potential comorbidities.

If a person has psoriasis, they should consult a doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment are usually the first steps toward preventing comorbidities.

A doctor can help rule out underlying medical conditions and work with the person to develop an individualized treatment plan.