Living with psoriasis

Life with psoriasis can be challenging, but with the right approach you can reduce flares and live a healthy, fulfilling life. These three areas will help you cope in the short-term and long-term:

Diet

Losing weight and maintaining a healthy diet can go a long way toward helping ease and reduce symptoms of psoriasis. This includes eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, whole grains, and plants. You should also limit foods that may increase your inflammation, such as refined sugars, dairy products, and processed foods.

Stress

Stress is a well-established trigger for psoriasis. Learning to manage and cope with stress may help you reduce flares and ease symptoms. Meditation, journaling, breathing, and yoga are just a few of the ways you may find success at reducing stress.

Emotional health

People with psoriasis are more likely to experience depression and self-esteem issues. You may feel less confident when new spots appear. Talking with family members about how psoriasis affects you may be difficult, and the constant cycle of the condition may be frustrating. All of these emotional issues are valid, and it’s important you find a resource for handling them. This may include speaking with a professional mental health expert or joining a group for people with psoriasis.

Psoriasis and Arthritis

About 15 percent of people with psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis. This type of arthritis causes swelling, pain, and inflammation in affected joints. It’s commonly mistaken for rheumatoid arthritis and gout. The presence of inflamed, red areas of skin with plaques usually distinguishes this type of arthritis from others. Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic condition. Like psoriasis, the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis may come and go, alternating between flares and remission. Psoriatic arthritis can also be continuous, with constant symptoms and issues. This condition typically affects large joints of the lower body, including your knees and ankles. It can also affect your fingers, toes, back, and pelvis. Most people who develops psoriatic arthritis have psoriasis. However, it’s possible to develop the joint condition without having been diagnosed with psoriasis. Most people who are diagnosed with arthritis without the skin condition have a family member with psoriasis. Treatments for psoriatic arthritis may successfully ease symptoms, relieve pain, and improve joint mobility. As with psoriasis, losing weight, maintaining a healthy diet, and avoiding triggers may also help reduce psoriatic arthritis flares. An early diagnosis and treatment plan can reduce the likelihood of severe complications, including joint damage.

Psoriasis statistics

Psoriasis may begin at any age, but most diagnoses occur in adulthood. The average age of onset is 33 years old. About 75 percent of psoriasis cases are diagnosed before age 46. A second peak period of diagnosis occurs in the late 50s and early 60s. Males and females are affected equally, but Caucasians are affected disproportionately. People of color make up a very small proportion of psoriasis diagnoses. Having a family member with the condition increases your risk for developing psoriasis. However, many people with the condition have no family history at all, and some people with a family history won’t develop psoriasis. About 15 percent of people with psoriasis will be diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. In addition, people with psoriasis are more likely to develop conditions such as type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, and high blood pressure. Though the data isn’t complete, research suggests cases of psoriasis are becoming more common. Whether that’s because people are developing the skin condition or doctors are just getting better at diagnosing it is unclear.


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