The Asthma-Psoriasis Connection
My asthma and psoriasis showed up on the scene about the same time in my adolescence. The asthma got a lot more attention, because.. well.. it turned me blue. Blue generally gets more attention as a child than red. Little did I know that the psoriasis was equally as harmful to my body. I was given inhalers, nebulizers, home rescue kits, and more for my asthma, but for the lesions spreading over my body at an alarming rate, I was simply given some ointments.
Two daunting conditions
They also seemed to flare together. Winter is the worst for both. Cold, dry air is not good for anything (except maybe snowmen!) Everything starts drying out on the inside and the outside. You know how when one baby cries, any baby that is near the crying baby starts wailing too? That is how psoriasis and asthma work. I used to think it was because I was inhaling all of that dead skin, but now I am more convinced it is due to the internal factors that these diseases come with.
Hopefully, you can see how having two chronic conditions is a bit daunting sometimes. I have had to come to terms with the realization that I will be on medications for either my asthma, my psoriasis, or both for the rest of my life. I’m at peace with it, but I am still always looking for new research or studies to help me better understand my body in relation to these diseases that impact so many areas of my life.
What's the relationship between asthma and psoriasis?
Since I now know that both diseases are immune-mediated and inflammatory, I pondered the age-old question of which came first—the chicken or the egg? (Or in my case—the wheezing or the flaking?) Did my psoriasis make me more prone to have asthma? Did my asthma spur my psoriasis? On the other hand, was there no connection at all? Regardless, I want to know what started them. Simply stating genetics alone doesn’t indulge me.
My curiosity was fulfilled when I found a study from 2014 in the British Journal of Dermatology on the connection between asthma and psoriasis. This study involved looking at two cohorts: one of psoriasis patients and one of non-psoriasis patients over a period of time to evaluate if one group was more prone to develop asthma versus the other. What they found is that the psoriasis group was at a significantly higher risk for developing asthma1.
Understanding more about your comorbidities
Now, I know some of you are rolling your eyes or sighing heavily at the mention of another risk association to psoriasis. We hear all the time how we are already at higher risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and a host of other not-fun diseases. And trust me—I get it. It can be scary to hear a list of everything that can go wrong with you. But to me, since I already have asthma, it was more like a breath of fresh air (no pun intended). It was one more piece in the puzzle that has lead to understanding my body.
Now, there is no telling which came first, but I do highly suspect the psoriasis did. I have heard stories from multiple family members about the skin issues I had as a baby and toddler that were never formally diagnosed. I’ll never know for sure, but what I do know is I will continue to advocate and support research to better understand how all of these related conditions are connected. There has been much more research into diseases like asthma, so my hope is that the more we understand the connection, the closer we can move towards more effective treatment or even a cure.
How often do you experience brain fog?