Neurological complications of psoriatic arthritis: what we know

Arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes swollen and painful joints. Psoriasis is also an autoimmune disease. It causes thick scaly patches on the skin.

About 1 in 3 people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis (PsA), which causes both sets of symptoms.

People with PsA have a higher risk of developing many neurological and other health problems than the general population. This increased risk is at least partly explained by the increased levels of inflammation caused by psoriasis.

Read on to find out which neurological and other health problems people with PsA are at high risk of developing.

Previously, medical professionals thought of psoriasis as just a skin disorder, but it is now known that it can affect many organ systems, not just the skin.

High levels of inflammation can contribute to the development of neurological complications, such as:

Neuropathic pain

In a study 2019the researchers found that 26.6% of a group of 64 people with PsA probably had neuropathic-like pain and 21.9% had possible neuropathic pain.

Neuropathic pain is often described as shooting, burning, or stabbing. It is caused by damaged nerve fibers that send pain signals to your brain.

Chronic inflammation in people with psoriasis can lead to the release of molecules called prostaglandin E2 and prostaglandin I2, which stimulate pain receptors and lead to neuropathic pain.

Seizures

The risk of developing seizures appears to be higher in people with psoriasis and in people with other autoimmune diseases that cause inflammation than in the general population.

A 2019 study found that the risks of epilepsy were 1.9 times higher in people with psoriasis than in the general population.

Shared risk factors between seizures and psoriasis, such as diabetes, may also contribute to this link.

Migraine

In another 2019 study, researchers found that migraine occurs 1.62 times more frequently in middle-aged male participants with psoriasis than in those without psoriasis. The researchers did not find a significant association among female participants or other age groups.

But one 2015 study found that people with psoriasis had a higher likelihood of migraines, regardless of gender. More research on this connection is needed.

Parkinson’s disease

A 2016 review of four studies found that people with psoriasis develop Parkinson’s disease 1.38 times more often than the general population. The increased risk is thought to come from chronic inflammation of neurons.

Schizophrenia

A large 2017 study of 1 million people in Taiwan found that people with psoriasis have a 2.32 times higher risk of developing schizophrenia than the general population.

The study authors concluded that the link could be due to common genetic susceptibility or immune mechanisms between the two conditions.

Caress

People with psoriasis and PsA have an increased risk of developing stroke and other cardiovascular diseases than the general population Case Report 2020.

A 2017 study found that the risk of stroke was 22 percent higher in people with PsA than in the general population.

Psoriasis and PA are associated with an increased risk of developing many other health problems, such as:

Back and neck pain

Chronic back or neck pain is a common feature of PsA. Anywhere from 25 to 70 percent of people with PsA have pain in these areas, according to a 2020 study.

When symptoms of PA develop in the spine and pelvis, it is called psoriatic spondylitis.

Uveitis and vision problems

Uveitis is an inflammation of the middle layer of the eye which consists of the iris, the muscles below it and the tissue filled with blood vessels. It can cause eye pain, redness and vision problems.

Research from 2019 estimates that 7 to 20 percent of people with psoriasis have uveitis. It tends to be more common in people with both psoriasis and PsA.

infections

Immune dysfunction appears to cause PSA, so the body’s ability to fight infection is impaired. The drugs used to treat PA are immunosuppressants, so they can also reduce the body’s ability to fight infection.

A person with PsA may experience a flare-up of infection-triggered symptoms due to the body’s immune response in fighting the infection.

In a study 2020the researchers found that people with psoriasis had a 36% higher risk of being hospitalized and a 33% higher risk of dying from infection than the general population.

Heart disease

It is well established that psoriasis and PSA are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Researchers found that people with PsA had a 43 percent higher risk of cardiovascular disease than the general population.

Diabetes

Psoriasis is associated with a 1.27 times risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a 2022 study.

Digestive disorders

In an American country study 2021the researchers found that both psoriasis and AP were associated with the development of inflammatory bowel disease, an umbrella term that includes Chron’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

The researchers also found an association between psoriasis and 21 of 23 other gastrointestinal diseases they examined, including:

Obesity

Obese people are thought to develop PSA more often than the general population. Decreased movement due to PSA-related joint pain and increased inflammation in people with PSA could increase the risk of developing obesity.

Weightloss It has been shown to improve symptoms of APS in obese people.

Depression

According to a research report 2020, psoriasis and depression may amplify each other and share common mechanisms. Increasing psoriasis severity tends to increase depression, and increasing depression tends to increase psoriasis severity.

Treatment for neurological conditions varies widely depending on the condition. It is important to speak regularly with your doctor to develop the best treatment plan.

Here is a summary of some of the more common treatment options. These treatments are the same for people with PsA and for others.

However, care should be taken to avoid drug interactions, as people with PsA would likely be taking medication for their PsA in addition to other conditions they may have.

Psoriasis was once believed to be just a skin condition, but now it is known that it can affect many parts of your body, such as your joints and nervous system.

Psoriasis and PA are associated with an increased risk of neurological diseases such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia and migraine.

If you have AP, it’s important to talk to your doctor if you notice any change in your symptoms or suspect you’re developing an associated condition such as uveitis.

With the help of your doctor, you can learn how to manage many complications of PA and maintain a high quality of life.