“If you are obese, some inflammatory markers are elevated on a daily basis,” Dr. Love explains. “Because of this elevated inflammatory state you find in obese individuals, they may be more sensitive to triggers that lead to arthritis.”

Researchers believe their findings bolster the argument that a healthy weight improves overall health.

“Patients – in particular psoriasis patients who are obese – should consider this another reason to lose weight,” Dr. Love says. “And in patients with a family history of psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, physicians should keep in mind that weight loss could benefit [them] in this new way, in addition to other ways we already know.”

Soumya Reddy, MD, is an assistant professor of medicine in the division of rheumatology and the director of the Psoriasis and Psoriatic Program at the NYU Langone Center for Musculoskeletal Care in New York City. She says this study is interesting, but some questions remain unanswered.

“I think it’s suggestive of [a] link between obesity and psoriatic arthritis, but I don’t know if you could say you can prove causality from this study,” Dr. Reddy says. She says that’s because researchers didn’t account for the severity of a patient’s psoriasis – a variable she says could also account for the increased risk of psoriatic arthritis.

Still, this adds to the many reasons that achieving a healthy weight is important, she says. And knowing excess weight increases one’s chance of developing a psoriatic arthritis may have more of an impact than some of the other warnings about carrying too much weight.

For example, the risk of potentially debilitating joint pain and damage “impacts your daily life when they start – not theoretically 10 years from now,” Dr. Reddy says. “This could give more motivation, as opposed to the risk of heart disease somewhere down the line.”