Dealing with psoriasis

Dealing with psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic skin disorder that forces skin cells to grow too rapidly.  Up to 7.5 million Americans suffer from the disease, according to the National Institutes of Health. It is actually an autoimmune disease and occurs when a type of white blood cell called a T cell mistakenly attacks healthy skin cells.

The result of this rapid skin cell growth is white, silvery, or red patches on the skin. Usually, skin cells grow slowly and shed about every 4 weeks. This allows fresh new skin cells to replace the old ones that have flaked off. However, with psoriasis, skin cells are formed within a matter of days rather than weeks. This creates thick patches or plaques. Itchiness is also associated with it.

These plaques can vary in size – from small to large. The patches often occur on the scalp, hands, feet, elbows, knees, back and even on your behind. Psoriasis cases are most prevalent in adults, but can occur with kids or teens as well. Psoriasis is not contagious, and cannot be spread by touch.

  •  What you can do:
  •  1. See a health practitioner:
  •  First see a health practitioner. Only they truly know personal and specific details about your condition.
  • 2. Manage your stress:
  •  Stress is known to cause psoriasis, so relieving stress is key. Learn how to relax. Try to find time for yourself: Start by drinking passionflower tea.
  • Exercise more, meditate, walk and breathe! All these can help you fight stress.
  • 3. Quit smoking:
  • Smoking, especially in women, makes you more likely to get psoriasis and can worsen the condition.
  • 4. Moisturize:
  •  Your skin must be optimally hydrated.
  • Use natural, organic moisturizers and body creams to keep dry skin from occurring. Dry skin can cause psoriasis.
  • 5. Short sunlight exposure:
  • Vitamin D in the form of sunshine can also help the chronic autoimmune disorder. (Always remember to use sunscreen). However, too much exposure to the sunlight can cause skin cancer, and sunburns can make psoriasis worse.
  • Supplementing with vitamin D helps too.
  •  6. Eat food rich in Omega-3 fatty acids:
  • Hydrating your skin with creams is not enough, you need to hydrate your skin from within with foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like wild Alaskan salmon.  Omega-3 fatty acids  are natural anti-inflammatory agents. Omega-3’s can also be found in walnuts and flaxseed.
  • Omega-3’s are also available in supplements forms.
  • 7. Adopt a gluten-free diet:
  • Gluten is known to cause allergic reactions in people suffering from psoriasis. Gluten is found mainly in foods made from wheat. Gluten-free foods are more common these days and can be found at your local health store.
  • 8. Eat cruciferous vegetables:
  •  Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage are disease fighters and anti-inflammatory agents. Eating these veggies can help treat psoriasis.
  • 9. Avoid high refined sugars:
  • A diet high in sugars, refined and processed foods can be very detrimental.
  • 10. Limit your exposure to chemical irritants:
  • Use a shower filter to reduce your exposure to chlorine which is known to exacerbate skin conditions.
  • Use a chemical-free and plant-derived detergent to wash your clothes.
  • Use synthetic-free cosmetic products and organic shampoos and conditioners.
  • Avoid perfumes.
  • Drink filtered  water.
  • References:
  •  1. Staff, Mayo Clinic. “Psoriasis.Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 25 Feb. 2011. Web. 01 Apr. 2013.
  • 2. Dr. Joseph Mercola: How light helps fight psoriasis.
  •  May 23, 2009
  • 3. Wonderly, Kimberley. “Healthy Diet for Psoriasis.”, 12 May 2011. Web. 01 Apr. 2013.
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