Studies show there may be a link between psoriatic disease and brain fog. Ways to help manage this include staying active, establishing good sleep hygiene, and starting a new hobby.

Psoriasis is an immune-mediated condition associated with inflammation. The most common form, plaque psoriasis, causes raised, scaly skin lesions on one or more parts of the body.

Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is an inflammatory type of arthritis. It causes stiff, swollen, painful joints. If a person does not receive treatment, the condition can cause permanent joint damage and lead to mobility problems.

Psoriatic disease refers to both psoriasis and PsA. The conditions are related, and up to 30% of people with psoriasis develop PsA.

Brain fog is a type of cognitive dysfunction that affects a person’s:

  • attention
  • concentration
  • memory
  • organization
  • speech

These are also symptoms of mild cognitive impairment (MCI). MCI is a condition where a person has more difficulty with thinking or memory than other people in their age group.

MCI may include other minor difficulties associated with thought patterns, such as:

  • losing things frequently
  • thinking more slowly
  • forgetting words or appointments

Research has shown that both psoriasis and PsA can cause symptoms of brain fog or MCI. This article explores the connection.

According to research, both psoriasis and PsA can cause brain fog or MCI.

A 2018 study notes a link between psoriasis and MCI. According to the researchers, psoriasis can cause:

  • MCI
  • depression or anxiety
  • reduced quality of life

They note that doctors should assess a person’s cognitive and mental health condition during diagnosis and throughout treatment.

A 2020 study indicates significant cognitive impairment regarding attention and concentration in people with psoriasis. The study also notes low scores relating to cognitive assessment tests.

Research has shown a connection between PsA and MCI. A 2021 study reports that people with PsA had a higher rate of MCI than the general population. The researchers noted that determining factors included:

  • age
  • level of disability
  • skin factors

Health experts believe that both psoriatic disease and cognitive dysfunction have inflammatory components. Treating psoriatic disease can help minimize chronic inflammation, which in turn can improve MCI symptoms.

A person living with psoriasis, PsA, or both who is concerned about symptoms of MCI or brain fog can take steps to lessen the severity of their symptoms. The following tips may help with managing both psoriatic disease and brain fog.

A person should consult a doctor about their ability to start a new exercise routine to help manage PsA and potentially help with symptoms of brain fog or MCI.

According to a 2022 meta-analysis, aerobic exercise combined with other forms of exercise (such as resistance training or balance training) and mind-body exercise (such as yoga and tai chi) help to improve cognitive function in older people with MCI.

Exercise and physical activity can also help individuals with PsA reduce:

  • joint pain, stiffness, and swelling
  • inflammation
  • risk of developing related comorbidities, such as cardiovascular disease

Consistently getting restful sleep may help improve symptoms of brain fog.

According to a 2021 review, alterations in sleep increases the risk of MCI, and the sleep quality of individuals with MCI was poorer than healthy participants. The review also reports changes in the brain anatomy of healthy older adults with sleep disturbance.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, several factors associated with PsA, such as pain, depression, and sleep apnea, can affect a person’s sleep. Addressing these factors could help improve an individual’s sleep patterns.

Establishing good sleep hygiene can help a person get sufficient rest. The following suggestions may be helpful:

  • going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends
  • removing electronic devices from the bedroom
  • maintaining a cool, dark, quiet bedroom environment to help promote sleep

The researchers behind a 2015 study involving people ages 85 years and older found that taking up a new hobby can help strengthen and maintain cognitive function. Possible pastimes include painting, crafting, woodworking, or any activity that stimulates the brain.

Similarly, a 2024 study found that hobbies are the most important factor for predicting MCI progression. Individuals without hobbies had a higher likelihood of MCI progression (57%) than those with hobbies (26%).

Finding a new hobby, particularly one involving a social element where a person can engage with others, may also help with depression or anxiety. For people who find socializing difficult, a hobby may help them feel less isolated or alone.

While psoriasis and PsA can cause brain fog to occur, some comorbidities, such as depression and anxiety, may also play a role. Treating these types of underlying conditions can help manage related cognitive symptoms.

Following all treatments as prescribed for psoriatic disease to lower inflammation, finding ways to help manage stress, and treating any depression or anxiety can help reduce cognitive symptoms.

Additional steps can help address symptoms of brain fog and MCI, although they may not have a direct impact on psoriatic disease. These steps include:

  • minimizing consumption of processed foods
  • using coping strategies, such as writing things down
  • trying executive function coaching
  • practicing mind-clearing skills, such as mindfulness

Below are some commonly asked questions about psoriasis and brain fog.

Does psoriasis cause brain fog?

Yes, research has shown a connection between psoriasis and brain fog. For example, a 2020 study discovered significant cognitive impairment in people with psoriasis in terms of attention and concentration, with low scores on a cognitive assessment test.

What is the life expectancy of a person with psoriatic arthritis?

PsA does not usually affect a person’s life expectancy. However, people may have a higher risk of other conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, metabolic disease, and mental health disorders.

Brain fog or MCI can occur with psoriasis and PsA.

A person can take steps to help manage both psoriatic disease and cognitive symptoms simultaneously. These include trying to stay active, practicing good sleep hygiene, and following a doctor’s treatment recommendations.

Additional steps, such as coping strategies and mindfulness, can help manage brain fog.