Obesity: Why Weight Loss Matters

Eating sensibly and sticking to a regular exercise program are especially important if you have psoriasis.

Research shows that people with psoriasis are more likely to be obese. Obesity is a medical condition where the accumulation of excess body fat may negatively affect your overall health.

What's the connection?

For people with psoriasis, the trouble with obesity may be happening because psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes low-level chronic inflammation. Your body is overproducing skin cells, which leads to inflamed patches on the surface of your skin.

Chronic inflammation is also thought to be an underlying factor in a disease that's connected to obesity called metabolic syndrome—a phrase that doctors use to describe a group of symptoms that includes obesity; high blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels; and a high fasting-glucose level. Having metabolic syndrome can lead to cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Doctors also are starting to believe that treating psoriasis is harder if a patient is obese.

Make changes today

The first step in managing your overall health is to make sure that, in addition to regular visits to your dermatologist, you also get annual checkups with a primary care physician (PCP) or internist.

Be sure to get tested for diabetes and heart disease, and talk to your PCP about your weight-management options.

Smoking, a lack of physical activity and overeating easily can lead someone down the path to obesity. If you have psoriasis, it's important to take care of your entire body—not just your skin.

Published August 2011

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