Take Control Of Your Health
By Freedom 360
Medically reviewed by Freedom 360 Panel of Doctors
One of the more difficult aspects of life with psoriasis is that patients are more likely to suffer from other medical conditions. This phenomenon is called co-morbidity which means having an additional disease or disorder in addition to your primary condition.
People with psoriasis are more likely to suffer from other conditions such as cardiovascular disease, obesity or insulin resistancei.
Psoriasis is only one factor in the development of a co-morbidity so having psoriasis does not mean you will develop another condition, just that you are more likely to.
There are steps you can take to reduce the risk of developing another illness. And the best place to start is by finding out exactly what your current state of health is. To do this, you can arrange with your doctor to undertake some tests. Known as health screening, having these tests done will give you important information about your body and tell you if you have to make changes to your lifestyle and behaviour if you wish to minimise the risk of additional complications.
Here are some health screening tests for you to consider:
Blood Pressure - Everyone is familiar with a blood pressure test as it is a critical diagnostic tool used by doctors to assess the health of a patient. It is a measure of the pressure with which the blood is pumped through the body by your heart.
Activities like exercise can cause your blood pressure to increase as can emotional distress or stress. Problems can occur if your blood pressure stays high for an extended period. This will increase your risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure or kidney diseaseii . Low-blood pressure can also be a problem as it can lead to dizziness or fainting.
Cholesterol Test - A cholesterol test is a blood test that measures the amount of fatty substances in your blood, known as lipids. The human body needs cholesterol as it plays an important role in helping you to digest fat. But a small amount goes a long way, and too much cholesterol can be harmful, causing the narrowing of your arteries. If the arteries around your heart narrow you face an increased risk of a heart attack. If it is the arteries around your brain that narrow, you increase then chance of a strokeiii .
The good news is cholesterol levels can usually be controlled through dietary changes and treatment. Eating a diet low in saturated fats can improve your cholesterol levels. But if diet makes no significant difference, doctors can prescribe a cholesterol lowering medication.
Glucose Tolerance Test - In this health screening procedure, a patient is given glucose, after which blood samples are taken to see how quickly the body can clear it from the blood. The results will tell you whether you have diabetes or not, or if you have what is called pre-diabetes.
Pre-diabetes occurs when the blood glucose level is higher than normal but not high enough to be considered as diabetes. It is also known as insulin resistance and means your body’s insulin is not working properly. If steps are not taken a person with pre-diabetes is likely to develop diabetes type 2 within a few yearsiv .
For people with psoriasis the need to prevent other forms of illness is important, as dealing with one condition is more than enough for anyone. That’s why health screening is important. Once you know a risk factor exists you can take steps to address it.
Simple lifestyle changes such as a better diet, stopping smoking, avoiding alcohol and exercise will go a long way to reducing risk factors. And where more serious problems persist, doctors have a range of treatment options to reduce these risk factors.
As the saying goes, prevention is better than a cure, so it is never too late to book yourself in for these health screening tests so you can take control of your health.
- Gottlieb AB, Chao C, Dann F; Psoriasis comorbidities, J Dermatolog Treat. 2008;19(1):5-21