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August 2021

National Psoriasis Foundation - This month, we're encouraging you to take control of your health and get involved with NPF. Check out our free resources and tools, and get inspired by people

August is Psoriasis Awareness Month

August is Psoriasis Awareness Month

A n estimated 8 million Amer icans, and more than 125 million people worldwide, have psoriasis, making it the most common autoimmune disease in the country. Although the skin disease is prevalent, many people are still unaware of its impact.

Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease where inflammation has gone wild and appears on the skin. The most common form of the disease, plaque psoriasis, appears as raised, red patches covered with an accumul ation of white dead skin cells. However, the inflammation goes everywhere in the body making it a systemic disease.

As many as 30 percent of people with the disease will be diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, a specific form of arthritis that is painful and debilitating, causing damage to the joints. The emotional aspects, the physical restrictions, and the pain caused by psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis can be disabling.

The inflammation that is present in psoriasis also has the ability to cros s the blood-brain barrier directly linking depression with psoriasis.

Diet may affect psoriasis symptoms. The  Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER)  suggests that individuals with psoriasis eat a diet rich in:

  • Fruits

  • Vegetables

  • Whole grains

  • Low-fat dairy products

  • Lean meats and fish

MFMER adds that fish oil - which provides polyunsaturated fatty acids needed to maintain healthy skin - may improve psoriasis symptoms as well.

The  American Academy of Dermatology  offers tips for managing psoriasis:

  • Learn about treatment options. This will help you make informed decisions and avoid things that can make it worse. Proper treatment can prevent deformed joints and disability

  • Take care of yourself. Eating a healthy diet, exercising, not smoking, and drinking very little alcohol will help.

  • Be aware of your joints. If your joints feel stiff and sore, especially when you wake up, see a dermatologist. Stiff or sore joints can be the first sign of psoriatic arthritis.

  • Notice your nails. If your nails begin to pull away from the nail bed or develop pitting, ridges, or a yellowish-orange color, see a dermatologist. These are signs of psoriatic arthritis.

  • Pay attention to your mood. If you feel depressed, you may want to join a psoriasis support group or see a mental health professional.

  • Talk with your dermatologist before you stop taking medicine for psoriasis. Immediately stopping a medicine for psoriasis can have serious consequences.

While there currently is no cure for Psoriasis there are a wide range of treatments available that you can discuss with your physician (creams & ointments, UV light therapy, oral and injectable medications) that can help to improve symptoms and lesson long term damage.

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