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. (National Psoriasis Foundation)
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 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.
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
MYTHS AND FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW
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.
(Consumer Health Digest)
Staying PositiveThrough Psoriasis
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 Tip
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.
In 1995 he became Administrator of Dial-a-Nurse nursing agency, the oldest nursing agency in the Southwest Florida succeeding his mother who started the company 37 years ago. He is also President of Nevco, Inc., an educational healthcare training company begun in 1988.
Mr. Wolfendale has worked with the U.S. Department of Commerce on various Missions to improve the quality of life around the world by development of supportive healthcare programs. In 2005 he traveled with U.S. officials and addressed the Italian National Government assisting in the creation of Nurse Education mandates for that Country. In 2006 he was invited and spoke with the National Institutes of Continuing Education in Eastern Europe on healthcare education and developmental mandates, and most recently represented the United States at the European Union in Lake Balaton, Hungary in 2011. In 2014 he traveled with the U.S. Department of State to Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam in an effort to improve caregiver knowledge and training.
Mr. Wolfendale has worked with a number of non-profits in contributing and creating curriculum to improve the quality of life in third-world countries since 2001, and notably created a successful program in Odessa, India that has been modeled in other areas of the world. In his backyard, he has worked with local Goodwill Industries to provide curriculum and training to underserved individuals who have obtained employment as a result of educational training. He was the Congressional appointment to the Governor's purple ribbon task force in 2013, and has worked to educate caregivers in all aspects of Alzheimer's training.
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