Helping Seniors manage Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a common autoimmune disease. Since it is more than just a basic skin condition, it is helpful for seniors to learn to manage it.
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. Psoriasis affects 1 million Canadians and 125 million people worldwide. Canadian Dermatology Association
August is Psoriasis Awareness month and is intended to help educate people about this disease. Understanding psoriasis is a smart first step in learning to manage it. People living with psoriasis may think the disease is just a rash and often 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 and Facts about Psoriasis
Myth - Psoriasis is just a rash
Fact - Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition of the skin and can contribute to an 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.
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.
The itchiness, unpleasant plaques, and other symptoms of psoriasis can feel maddening. However, stress can exacerbate symptoms. Helps seniors stay positive by focusing on everything they can still do despite this disease. Remind them that flare-ups do end.
Home Care Tips
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.
At Promyse Home Care, we offer Personal Care for your loved ones, including skin care and medication reminders. Our goal is to support and assist you as much as needed while encouraging as much independent care as possible. Should your needs change over time, our Nurse Case Manager will work with you and your caregiver to adapt the plan of care to ensure the best possible outcomes.