Psoriasis Comorbidities: The More You Know the More You Stress
Last updated: October 2021
You know how NBC has those public service announcements called “The More You Know?” The ad flies across the screen like a comet and the segments are meant to make you more knowledgeable. But sometimes knowledge is straight-up stressful.
Every day there seems to be some new comorbidity linked to psoriasis and sometimes it all gets a bit overwhelming.
I’m not going to list out all the psoriasis comorbidities here, in fact, I’m not going to talk about any of them. If you do some research and utilize the resources on this site alone, you can find the right information.
Comorbidities are the presence of two or more chronic conditions in the same patient. If you’ve been around the psoriasis communities long enough, you’ll know that there are a lot of psoriasis comorbidities. Psoriasis itself can increase your risk of developing other chronic conditions, or the increased risk can be because both conditions share the same underlying risk factors (e.g. genetics).
In any case, titles like “Psoriasis increases your chances of developing this thing” or “Patients with psoriasis are more likely to die of that thing” are everywhere.
Our response is often “great, add it to the list!” or “oh man, I really did not need to know this.”
Knowledge is power. Or is it?
When is knowledge stressful? Or unhelpful? For me, it’s when that new information is not accompanied by any action I can take. The information “because you have psoriasis you’re 3X more likely to die of this other disease” doesn’t give me power unless you tell me what I can do about it.
Give me the risk, but also give me the remedy. Tell me that eating more fruits and vegetables can eliminate the risk (or at least reduce it). Tell me that I should be reaching out to this new specialist or that my PCP can monitor something in my bloodwork to catch it early.
I want to know that junk food is bad for everyone but especially bad for me. I'd like to know that if I notice changes in my nails, I should book an appointment or that if my vision gets blurry, I should tell my optometrist that I have psoriasis. Knowledge with action is power, not information alone.
I really do want to know, but that doesn’t make it fun
Even though it’s stressful, I do want to know. I can’t do something if I don’t know about it and I’d rather know when there’s still time to act. Despite that, being bombarded with negative news is always a bummer.
A lot of times it doesn’t feel fair that this autoimmune condition I didn’t ask for could invite other guests without my permission. On our sister site, I wrote a two-part article about how autoimmune conditions collect because I didn’t feel that information was out there. I tried to frame the first part in a way that empowered people to know they’re not alone, and in the second part, I gave a list of things you can do to help prevent it.
For me, this is the key. Give me the bad news first, then the good news. I want information that makes me go “oh thank goodness it’s not just in my head!” or “yikes, that’s bad, okay but here’s what I do now.”
Do you have negative news fatigue? Do you think information about comorbidities is helpful or harmful to your emotional health?
Are you recently diagnosed with psoriasis?