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How To Manage Psoriasis For Better Health?

The skin is affected by psoriasis, an autoimmune disease that causes red, scaly plaques or patches. The immune system attacks healthy cells of the skin, causing a buildup on the surface.

Psoriasis is a skin condition that can appear anywhere on the body. However, it usually appears on the scalp, the knees, the elbows, and the lower back. Psoriasis severity can vary between individuals and may be linked to conditions such as psoriatic joint inflammation or psoriatic arthritis.

Causes Of Psoriasis

  • Genetic factors: Psoriasis is a condition that tends to run through families. Multiple genes have been implicated in its development. A genetic predisposition to the condition does not guarantee that it will occur.
  • Immune system dysfunction: Psoriasis can be categorized as an autoimmune disease, where the immune system attacks healthy cells. The immune system causes psoriasis by triggering the rapid production of skin cells. This results in thick, scaly skin patches.
  • Environmental factors: Some environmental factors can trigger or worsen psoriasis in people with a genetic disposition. Stress, skin injury, infection, medication, and smoking are all factors that can cause psoriasis.
  • Lifestyle factors: Lifestyle factors, such as diet and physical activity, can play a part in developing and treating psoriasis. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can reduce inflammation, improve overall health and help you manage psoriasis.

Symptoms of Psoriasis

The most common psoriasis symptoms are:

  • The most common symptom is raised red patches covered in white scales. These patches are most commonly found on the scalp and elbows.
  • Itching and burning: Psoriasis may cause skin patches to become itchy or painful, particularly where the skin rubs up against the skin, like the buttocks, underarms, and groin.
  • Nails that are thickened, pitted, or ridged: Psoriasis may cause nail changes, including thickening, pitting, or ridging. It can also lead to discoloration or even separation from the bed.
  • Skin that is dry and cracked: Psoriasis-affected skin patches can become cracked, dry, and infected.
  • Joint pain and swelling: Psoriasis, known as psoriatic arthritic, can cause joint stiffness and swelling. A decreased range of motion can also accompany this.

How to manage psoriasis?

Psoriasis is not curable, but many treatments can manage it and reduce the symptoms. Here are some steps to help you manage psoriasis.

Work with a Dermatologist:

If you suspect you have psoriasis, it is important to consult a dermatologist. They can diagnose the condition and treat it properly. Your dermatologist will help you create a customized treatment plan and track your progress.

Keep your skin moisturized and clean to prevent flare-ups and itching. Use mild, fragrance-free moisturizers and soaps that are designed for sensitive skin. Avoiding hot baths and showers will help.

Topical treatments are usually the first treatment option for mild or moderate psoriasis. They are applied directly to the affected skin. Topical treatments include

  • Corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory drugs that reduce swelling, redness, and itching. Different strengths are available, and your dermatologist can recommend the right strength for you depending on the severity of the psoriasis.
  • These drugs are analogs of vitamin D. They help reduce skin inflammation and slow cell growth. You can find them as a cream or an ointment.
  • Retinoids are a synthetic version of vitamin A that can reduce inflammation and slow the growth of skin cells. These are available in gel or cream form.

Consider light therapy. Phototherapy or light therapy involves exposing skin to ultraviolet radiation to reduce inflammation and slow down the growth of skin cells. This treatment is usually used in conjunction with topical treatments.

Manage stress:

Stress triggers psoriasis, so you should find ways to reduce stress daily. Exercise, meditation, and deep breathing are all effective ways to manage stress.

Systemic medications can be taken orally and by injection. They work to reduce swelling and slow the growth of skin cells. Some of the most common systemic medications are:

  • Methotrexate suppresses your immune system and reduces inflammation. It can be taken by mouth or injection to treat mild to moderate psoriasis. Methotrexate may cause nausea, fatigue, and liver damage. It is important to consult your healthcare provider before taking this medication.
  • Cyclosporine suppresses your immune system. It is used for severe psoriasis. This medication is taken by mouth and can have side effects such as kidney damage and high blood pressure. It is best to consult your healthcare provider before taking it.
  • Biologic agents: These medications specifically target the immune system to treat psoriasis. These medications are usually injected and include adalimumab and etanercept. Using biological agents to treat psoriasis can be highly effective but can also have side effects. These include an increased risk for infections and certain types of cancer.
  • Retinoids, vitamin A-related medications, are used to treat severe cases of psoriasis. These medications are taken by mouth and can have side effects such as hair loss, dry skin, and liver damage. 

Watch out for infections:

Psoriasis makes you more susceptible to infection, so you should be on the lookout for any signs and seek immediate treatment if an infection occurs.

Quit smoking. Smoking can worsen the symptoms of psoriasis, so it is important to quit smoking.

Psoriasis can be treated with a combination of treatments and lifestyle modifications. Together with your dermatologist, develop a treatment plan that is tailored to you.

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