Psoriasis is a common autoimmune disease in the US. Since it is more than just a basic skin condition, it is helpful for seniors to learn to manage it.
According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, an estimated 7.5 million Americans have psoriasis.
Psoriasis is a disease that primarily affects the skin, but it can have a larger impact. Helping seniors manage their psoriasis can improve their quality of life. August is Psoriasis Awareness month, and is intended to help educate people about this disease.
The Basic Facts of Psoriasis
Understanding psoriasis is a smart first step for learning to manage it. People living with psoriasis may think the disease is just a rash, and oftentimes do not seek the helpful medical attention that can reduce the effects of the condition.
What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a chronic disease of the autoimmune system. That means the disease can increase or decrease in intensity, and is not curable. The main effects of the disease are inflammation of the skin and thickened, scaling skin. There are several types of psoriasis.
What are the Symptoms of Psoriasis?
The symptoms of psoriasis are often visible or tangible. Common symptoms include:
- Itching (sometimes severe)
- Fungus around the nails
- Red or pink bumps on the skin
- Scaly or raised up skin
How Does Psoriasis Affect Quality of Life?
Both the inflammation and itchiness associated with psoriasis can lower quality of life, and in some cases can even affect one’s ability to work or cause depression. The appearance of psoriasis plaques on the skin can also affect self-esteem and self-image. Since the disease can flare up or reduce in intensity at any time, it can also cause anxiety and frustration.
How Can Psoriasis be Treated?
While there is no cure for psoriasis, there are medicines that can reduce inflammation, itchiness, and flare-ups of the disease. Likewise, there are steps people with psoriasis can take to avoid exacerbating the condition.
Myths & Facts About Psoriasis
- Myth: Psoriasis is just a rash.
- Fact: Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition of the skin and can contribute to inflammation under the skin, such as in the joints.
- Myth: Psoriasis will go away on its own.
- Fact: Actually, the disease is chronic and there is no cure. The condition may get better for a time, but it can also get worse and varies often.
- Myth: There is no treatment for psoriasis.
- Fact: You can treat psoriasis with medication, although it is not curable. There are lifestyle options that can minimize psoriasis and its effects.
- Myth: Psoriasis is contagious.
- Fact: Being an autoimmune condition, psoriasis is not contagious.
Simple Tips for Managing Psoriasis
Lifestyle choices can help keep psoriasis in check. Check with your doctor before implementing any new lifestyle changes.
- Eat a healthy diet
- Take fish oil
- Ask about medication during flare-ups
- Don’t drink or smoke
- Protect joints through exercise
- See a doctor if your nails change
- Limit stress and practice self care
Pay attention to seniors’ medication intake. Some people stop taking medication for psoriasis when they feel their condition has improved, but such medications must be continued until a doctor approves of patients ending their regimen. Always consult a doctor before starting a medication.
If you or your family member is considering in-home care as part of a plan to age in place, contact Family Matters In-Home Care today for a free consultation. Our team is dedicated to supporting your family and helping older adults enjoy life in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible.
Some of the services offered by Family Matter In-Home Care include: Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care, Bed & Wheelchair Transfer Assistance, Companionship, Housekeeping & Meal Preparation, Personal Care, Recovery Care, and Transportation.