How Seniors Can Manage Psoriasis Symptoms at HomeAugust 23, 2023
How Seniors Can Manage Psoriasis Symptoms at Home
We’ve all seen it: scaly patches of red skin on one’s arms or legs. It isn’t contagious, but that doesn’t make it any less uncomfortable for the person suffering from it. Not only are these patches unsightly—they’re painful. This skin condition is known as psoriasis, and it affects over three million Americans a year. While it can impact those of any age, the symptoms of the disease can be especially difficult for seniors.
In order to educate the public on the condition, August was named Psoriasis Awareness Month. If you suffer from the condition, remember that you are not alone, and can receive support. Your doctor may have already prescribed medications to help treat the condition, but learning how seniors can manage psoriasis symptoms at home could be beneficial to you too.
Don’t start any sort of skin care regimen or changes to your diet or exercise without first discussing it with your physician. Once they give you the green light, you can try these supplemental ways to manage your psoriasis symptoms at home.
What is psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease that causes patches of red, scaly skin to develop anywhere on the body. It is most common in people with other health issues, such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and cancer, as it is an autoimmune condition. Psoriasis occurs in cycles—some periods may last for weeks or months with more extreme symptoms, and other periods may be completely symptom-free. While it cannot be completely cured, symptoms can be significantly improved with medication and treatment.
Psoriasis can manifest in a number of ways, including:
- Plaque psoriasis: the most common form. Small red bumps turn into silver-colored scales over time and appear most commonly in places with joints or pressure points.
- Guttate psoriasis: red spots resembling blood or water droplets arise. They appear suddenly and are localized to one part of your body. May occur after being infected with strep or staph bacteria.
- Inverse psoriasis: not as common and occurs in thick, scaly patches under arms and in folds of the skin. May result in more severe symptoms due to sweating or skin fraction.
- Pustular psoriasis: mainly impacts adults. Manifests in small, red bumps that look like blisters and fill with white or yellow liquid. Mainly occur on the feet, but can develop elsewhere.
- Erythrodermic psoriasis: rarest and most severe form. Causes widespread redness and scaling over large areas of the body that look similar to burns, and can lead to infection, pneumonia, and heart failure.
How can I manage psoriasis at home?
If you or a loved one suffers from psoriasis, you likely have worked out a treatment regimen with your doctor. However, there are things you can do to manage your symptoms at home for optimal comfort. Remember to speak with your doctor before making any changes to your day-to-day routine.
Practice proper skincare
One of the best things you can do to care for your skin is to keep it clean and moisturized. Those with psoriasis should use gentle skin-care products recommended to them by their doctors. Keep your motions soft as you cleanse, as too much scrubbing can irritate the skin and cause further dryness.
If you are going to spend any amount of time in the sun, make a point to use sunscreen with high SPF. You should also reapply often, even if you stay in the shade.
While you may love the smell of scented soaps and lotions, most of these perfumed products contain irritating dyes and chemicals. This can inflame your current psoriasis plaques and cause you even more pain. Even perfume can lead to discomfort. Products labeled “sensitive skin” are your best bet.
Baths are not only fantastic for relaxing your muscles—they are also great for psoriasis. Soaking in a bath of Epsom salts, mineral oil, or oatmeal can soothe itching and help lift scales. Before you hop in the tub, however, remember that too hot of water can actually be drying. Your water should only be a few degrees warmer than your normal body temperature.
Use aloe vera
A 2010 study found that aloe vera gel was slightly more effective in improving psoriasis symptoms a steroid often used to treat psoriasis. While more research is currently being executed to confirm the effectiveness, aloe vera is known to reduce redness and irritation caused by psoriasis. It could be a great option for those wanting to try natural alternatives.
Try a healthier diet
Just as many health conditions can be treated with a healthier diet, it may also have a positive impact on your psoriasis. Fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins are fantastic no matter what health condition you suffer from. Consider adding some anti-inflammatory foods to your diet, as they could help lessen your symptoms.
Promote a healthier lifestyle with the support of a caregiver
Tending to your health should be one of your top priorities. However, as you age, certain tasks like dressing, doing laundry, and cooking healthy meals may turn cumbersome. This can make leading a healthy lifestyle a challenge.
Thankfully, with the help of an at-home caregiver, you don’t have to worry. For 30 years, the staff at Home Care Powered by AUAF has provided seniors in the Chicago area the support they need to age in place. For more information on how we can improve your quality of life, give us a call at 773-274-9262.
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