Keeping Psoriasis at Bay

2:11 PM

Many women of all ages, including young moms, often deal with a mysterious skin condition called psoriasis. This is an immune-mediated disease that causes red, raised, scaly patches to appear on the skin. These symptoms can show up anywhere, including the mouth, eyelids, skin folds, even the nails, causing many moms anguish for two reasons - psoriasis can be intensely itchy, and it is unsightly. Of course, psoriasis is a problem for everyone - approximately six million Americans, in fact; scientists don’t know exactly what causes it, but they do now that the immune system is involved. Although it can appear at any age, most people show symptoms between 15 and 30 years of age. Sometimes, various members of one family battle the disease at once. Indeed, one is more likely to develop psoriasis if another family member has it. 

Photo by ian dooley on Unsplash

Psoriasis Prevention and Treatments
To avoid psoriasis, it is important to avoid any known irritants, including harsh cleaning and skincare products. Vitamin D supplements may also help (blood tests are necessary to find the right dosage). As a busy mom, you may not have enough time for yourself as you’d like, but it is important to find some time every day to be in the sun (one of the best ways to power up on Vitamin D). Those who do sunbathe regularly report a big improvement in their skin’s appearance. For some, the change can be dramatic, with patches almost disappearing in the warmer months. Sun exposure should be increased gradually, to ensure skin doesn’t burn. Start out with 10 minutes daily and increase the time by 30 seconds to one minute each day, observing how your skin reacts to the exposure. 

UV phototherapy is another highly effective treatment, offered by dermatologists and specialist phototherapy centers. Since there are different types of rays, ask your doctor to recommend you to a specialist who can determine the right treatment for your condition

Another interesting way to promote scale-free skin is hyperbaric oxygen therapy - thus far, studies show good results and no side-effects from this gentle treatment.

Big strides have been made in terms of medication for psoriasis. Until the 1990s, doctors have very few options for those suffering from moderate and severe psoriasis. To date, there are a wide variety of treatments, including topical corticosteroids and retinoids, synthetic Vitamin D, salicylic acid and deeply hydrating creams to battle dryness. For serious cases, oral or injected medication can be prescribed. Recently, scientists have been testing a specific new biological treatment which differs from traditional drugs in that it is based on molecules the body makes naturally; the treatment, called tildrakizumab, saw patients make a 75% improvement, as measured by the standard Psoriasis Area Severity Index (PASI).
Psoriasis is an itchy, sometimes painful condition that unfortunately affects 100 million people in the world. Prevention mainly involves obtaining adequate amounts of Vitamin D, and experimenting with phototherapy and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. In severe cases, medication is necessary to reduce symptoms; patients will often try a select number of treatments before finding what best works for them.

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