Important Health Screenings for People With Psoriasis
Having psoriasis increases your risk for a variety of other health conditions. Continue to see a primary care provider who can ensure you receive appropriate tests to stay on top of your health.
It is important to tell your doctor if you have any other symptoms that may seem unrelated to your psoriasis. This is because psoriasis is actually linked to other diseases, conditions and behavioral problems. These include:
- depression, low self-esteem, or social anxiety
- type 2 diabetes
- high blood pressure
- cardiovascular disease
- sleep apnea
- kidney disease
- psoriatic arthritis
- celiac disease
- Crohn's disease
Therefore, your primary care doctor may screen you for these other diseases and conditions. Routine assessments include blood pressure screenings, as well as measurement of weight and body mass index. You may also need to provide a blood sample to test your blood glucose levels, cholesterol levels, kidney function, and other markers that may indicate if you have another condition.
Blood glucose and A1c
Testing your blood glucose levels is quite simple. After fasting for at least 8 hours, a finger prick helps draw out a drop of blood that is applied to a test strip. Your A1c is measured through a regular blood test that is then analyzed by a lab. The results of your blood glucose and A1c tests helps determine if you have diabetes.
This is one of the most important screenings because high blood pressure usually does not have any symptoms. To measure your blood pressure, a cuff is placed around your upper arm. High blood pressure can put you at greater risk for a heart attack or stroke.
After fasting for at least 8 hours, a healthcare professional will take blood. The results of this blood test will reveal your total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and HDL (good) cholesterol. High cholesterol can put you at greater risk for a heart attack or stroke.
Body mass index (BMI)
BMI is calculated by taking a measurement of your waist circumference or by using your body weight taken by a scale. A high BMI can put you at risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke.
To determine how well your kidneys are functioning, a healthcare professional will take blood and a urine sample. The results of your blood and urine test will reveal if your kidneys are properly removing wastes and excess fluid from your body. Abnormal kidney function may be a sign of kidney disease.
There are many instruments used to screen for depression. The most common methods are short questionnaires in which you rate your responses. Your healthcare provider may also ask you a series of questions that you should answer as honestly as possible.
In addition to staying vigilant about your overall health, continue regular appointments with a dermatologist who can determine your specific type of psoriasis.
There are six main types of psoriasis:
- plaque psoriasis
- nail psoriasis
- guttate psoriasis
- inverse psoriasis
- pustular psoriasis
- erythrodermic psoriasis psoriasis
Your doctor can help you understand which type of psoriasis you have and which treatment is best for you. The doctor will perform a physical examination which usually involves your skin, scalp and nails. Sometimes, the doctor will take a small sample of skin called a biopsy. The skin sample is examined under a microscope to help determine the exact type of psoriasis you have. This also helps the doctor rule out other disorders.
After your health screenings, your dermatologist can help determine the best treatment plan for your psoriasis. If you have another associated condition or require further testing, your primary care doctor may refer you to another doctor who specializes in that specific disease or condition.
While there is no cure for psoriasis, routine health screenings with both your dermatologist and primary care doctor will help you reduce psoriasis symptoms and maintain good health overall.