Psoriasis and Stroke

If you have psoriasis, you might already be aware of the fact that there are several medical conditions that more commonly occur in people who have psoriasis - such as arthritis and multiple sclerosis. But recent studies have shown that having psoriasis also increases the risk of stroke. If you have psoriasis, is important to understand this risk and to take action to minimize your stroke risk. Find out more about how to lower your risk of stroke if you have psoriasis.


Psoriasis is a medical condition that is most recognizable by thickened plaques on the skin. These plaques can appear on a number of different areas throughout the body, and they episodically improve and worsen over time. If you have psoriasis, the good news is that there are new treatments available to help keep it under control.

Psoriasis and stroke

The most common non-skin condition associated with psoriasis is arthritis. But recent research shows that people with psoriasis also have an increased risk of stroke. This is probably due to the fact that psoriasis is associated with increased inflammation, which means over activity of the immune system (the system of your body that fights off infection) even when there is not an infection. Excessive inflammation is becoming more recognized as one of underlying the causes of stroke. The inflammation associated with psoriasis is the most likely explanation for the increased risk of stroke in people who have psoriasis.

When are people with psoriasis most likely to have a stroke? 

A very interesting detail about the higher stroke risk among people who have psoriasis is that the risk of stroke is strongly associated with depression and psoriasis, not just with psoriasis alone. One research study revealed that the risk of stroke was much higher during severe episodes of depression and, unfortunately, remained high for people with psoriasis even after the depression had resolved.

Mood changes such as depression and anxiety are already known as stroke risk factors, even for people who do not have psoriasis. Your mood substantially alters the physiology of your body- such as your blood pressure, you heart function and even how your body handles different nutrients. So, over time, depression sets you up to have a stroke. And the studies involving people with psoriasis show that while stroke risk is higher for people who have psoriasis, it is specifically the additive effect of psoriasis and depression that increases the risk of stroke.

What you can do about your stroke risk if you have psoriasis

If you have psoriasis, you need to familiarize yourself with the most common stroke risk factors and make the necessary lifestyle and health modifications to reduce your chances of having stroke. The important changes you can make include:

If you are depressed, you have probably heard some optimistic and encouraging words about overcoming depression. While encouragement from friends and family is well intended, most of the casual advice you hear about depression can't actually fix your depression. There is real medical treatment for depression, and it has been proven to be effective. It takes time to overcome depression because depression is a true medical condition and there is no 'quick fix' for it.

If you have depression, you will likely need a combination of lifestyle modifications, professional counseling, and medical treatment. Lifestyle modifications include lowering your stress level, managing your work situation, exercising and becoming aware of your feelings about your spirituality.

Living with psoriasis 

When you have a medical problem like psoriasis, sometimes you need to be aware of the other associated health problems so that you can pre-emptively prevent these complications before they happen. Understanding your increased stroke risk with psoriasis can go a long way towards preventing yourself from having a stroke.


Impact of Depression on Risk of Myocardial Infarction, Stroke and Cardiovascular Death in Patients with Psoriasis: A Danish Nationwide Study, Egeberg A, Khalid U, Gislason GH, Mallbris L, Skov L, Hansen PR, Acta Dermato-venereoligica, August 2015

Psoriasis and comorbidities. Epidemiological studies, Egeberg A, Danish Medical Journal, February 2016

Continue Reading