Those with the skin disease psoriasis may be at an increased risk for developing psoriatic arthritis if they also suffer from depression. This link has been confirmed by a new study recently published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology and asserts that depression can raise a psoriasis patient’s risk of developing psoriatic arthritis by as much as 37 percent.
The connection between depression and psoriatic arthritis is especially concerning, as the mental health condition is not uncommon in those living with the inflammatory skin disease.
Psoriasis causes red, itchy, and scaly patches to develop on the skin of patients that can sometimes be disfiguring and lead to negative thoughts about their appearance. While psoriatic arthritis can occur without the skin disorder, it most often accompanies it and causes joint pain, swelling, and has the potential to result in joint damage.
Previous research has linked major depressive disorder with an increased risk for systematic inflammation, meaning the mental condition can sometimes have physical manifestations as well. This systematic inflammation could increase the patient’s risk for developing psoriatic arthritis.
By analyzing data from over 70,000 psoriasis patients aged 25 and older, researchers were able to determine that those who had been or still were suffering from depression were at a much higher risk of developing psoriatic arthritis.
Dr. Scott Patten of the O’Brien Institute commented, “There is a tendency to think of depression as a purely ‘psychological’ or ‘emotional’ issue, but it also has physical effects and changes in inflammatory and immune markers have been reported in depressed people.” These changes could contribute to the increased risk of developing psoriatic arthritis, as one of its symptoms is inflammation in the joints.
Depression has been linked to a number of chronic diseases as a factor that increases their risk of development, and this new research has revealed that psoriatic arthritis can be added to the list, at least in the case of those already diagnosed with psoriasis.
Related: Facts about psoriatic arthritis