According to the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations, approximately 3 percent of the world’s population has some form of psoriasis, a condition that causes the skin to develop red, rough patches and silvery scales. Psoriasis itself is not life threatening, but it can raise a senior’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s, and many other serious complications. Though it may not be possible to completely prevent psoriasis, Anchorage senior care experts have some tips to help your senior loved one reduce his or her risk of flare-ups.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Being overweight can exacerbate psoriasis symptoms. You can help your loved one stave off these symptoms by encouraging him or her to eat a healthful, balanced diet and get regular physical activity. Certain foods, such as fatty fish, nuts, green leafy vegetables, and seeds can help reduce the body’s inflammatory response and alleviate psoriasis flare-ups.
High levels of stress can activate the body’s inflammatory response, which can trigger a psoriasis flare-up. You can help your loved one reduce the amount of stress in his or her life by encouraging the use of stress-relieving therapies like yoga, medication, and psychotherapy.
Some medications can interfere with the autoimmune system, which can trigger psoriasis symptoms. Common medications that can cause a psoriasis flare-up include:
- Lithium, used to treat manic depression and other mental health conditions
- Inderal and beta-blockers, which are often prescribed for hypertension
- Indomethacin, an NSAID used to treat arthritis
Of course, your loved one should never stop a medication without first consulting his or her doctor.
Protect the Skin
Skin trauma can cause a psoriasis flare-up referred to as the Koebner phenomenon. Seniors with psoriasis should do their best to prevent bumps, scrapes, cuts, and skin infections. This means being extra careful when shaving, avoiding tattoos or acupuncture, and using bug repellant to protect against insect bites.
Avoid Excess Sun
A little sun can slow the growth of skin cells and alleviate psoriasis symptoms. However, exposure should be limited to about 20 minutes at a time. A sunburn can trigger a psoriasis flare-up and raise your loved one’s skin cancer risk. Certain medications may also increase your loved one’s sensitivity to sunlight.
To learn more about senior health and wellness, reach out to Home Care Assistance. We are a leading provider of Parkinson’s, stroke, and Alzheimer’s care in Anchorage, and our caregivers are available around the clock to help seniors with a wide variety of daily tasks, including meal prep, exercise, and medication reminders. For more information and to request a complimentary in-home consultation, please call one of our knowledgeable Care Managers today at (907) 770-0907.