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Magazine

The Link Between Body Weight and Psoriasis

May 24, 2020 · 6 min read

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The effects of excess body weight and obesity on our overall health is well-documented. High blood pressure, heart disease and type 2 diabetes are just a few of the risks.  obesity could even be to blame for your psoriasis symptoms.

What’s the link between obesity and psoriasis?

Links are often drawn between obesity and psoriasis. It is both a risk factor for the onset of psoriasis and an aggravating factor for existing symptoms. Excess body weight can also interfere with treatments, reducing their efficacy and making adverse effects more likely.

There is a higher occurrence of obesity in psoriasis patients than in the general population. Individuals who had a high BMI at a young age are more likely to develop psoriasis in later life and also develop psoriasis at a younger age than psoriasis patients with a healthy BMI.

But, also, patients of any weight are more likely to gain weight after developing psoriasis. This may be because psoriasis symptoms can negatively affect self-esteem, making patients less likely to exercise and more likely to turn to comfort food and alcohol. For those with psoriatic arthritis, physical limitations may prevent them from exercising.

Why are the two linked?

Psoriasis is an inflammatory disease, so any external factors or other conditions that promote inflammation are bound to exacerbate it. Obesity is also associated with inflammation…

Adipose tissue (or body fat) releases a kind of protein called adipocytokines. Cytokines have a pro-inflammatory effect in the body and are often linked with psoriasis. Since an overweight person has more adipose tissue than someone of a healthy weight, more of these cytokines are released.

What can you do?

Shedding excess body weight could alleviate your symptoms and improve the effectiveness of any treatments you are undergoing. Losing weight isn’t easy, but small changes to your diet and physical activity can make a big difference over time.

Focus on eating a healthy, balanced diet rather than counting calories and restricting yourself and getting more exercise can be as simple as walking to the shop instead of driving, or taking the stairs instead of the lift.

And remember, changes don’t happen overnight. Be patient and stick with it! Your psoriasis will thank you for it. 

 

Did you like this article? If so, check out our blog for more tips on how to prevent skin conditions.

 

  • Jensen P. · Skov L. Psoriasis and Obesity (2017)
  • S Upala & A Sanguankeo, International Journal of Obesity, Effect of lifestyle weight loss intervention on disease severity in patients with psoriasis: a systematic review and meta-analysis (2015)
  • Kunz M, Simon JC, Saalbach A. Psoriasis: Obesity and Fatty Acids. Front Immunol. (2019)