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Can You Die if You Have Psoriasis?

Ask a Doctor

I’ve just been diagnosed with psoriasis. What’s the prognosis for this disease? Can you die from psoriasis?

Doctor’s Response

Psoriasis is more of an inconvenience in most cases than it is threatening.

However, it is a chronic systemic inflammatory disease for which there is no true cure. The itching and peeling of skin can lead to significant pain and self-esteem issues. By far, the patient's quality of life is affected most with plaque psoriasis. Self-consciousness and embarrassment about appearance, inconvenience, and high costs of treatment options all affect one's outlook when living with psoriasis. It has recently become apparent that many patients with psoriasis are predisposed to diabetes, obesity, and premature cardiovascular disease.

It is important that such patients seek good overall medical care aside from simply treating their skin disease. Anxiety, depression, or stress may worsen symptoms and increase the tendency to itch. Most patients can expect significant improvement from the treatment of their psoriasis.

Approximately 1%-2% of people in the United States, or about 5.5 million, have plaque psoriasis. Up to 10% of people with plaque psoriasis also have psoriatic arthritis. Individuals with psoriatic arthritis have inflammation in their joints that could result in permanent joint damage if not treated aggressively. It is now becoming apparent that psoriasis is not just a skin disease but can have widespread systemic effects.

Sometimes plaque psoriasis can evolve into more severe disease, such as pustular or erythrodermic psoriasis. In pustular psoriasis, the red areas on the skin contain small blisters filled with pus. In erythrodermic psoriasis, a wide area of red and scaling skin is typical, and it may be itchy and uncomfortable.

For more information, read our full medical article on psoriasis.

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References
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