When To Call A Doctor
- Symptoms of psoriasis. Early treatment may help keep the condition from getting worse.
- Signs of an infection, including:
- Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
- Red streaks leading from the area.
- Pus draining from the area.
- A fever.
If you are being treated for psoriasis, call your doctor if you:
- Have severe and widespread psoriasis and your skin is more irritated or inflamed than usual, especially if you have another illness.
- Are taking medicine for psoriasis and have serious side effects, such as vomiting, bloody diarrhea, chills, or a fever.
Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms Can Make Psoriasis Worse
People with psoriasis also should limit behaviors that can amp up stress. Alcohol and recreational drugs, for instance, may intensify rather than relieve stress, Petronic-Rosic says. A study published online in August 2019 in Psoriasis Auckland suggests that alcohol might make psoriasis worse.
Theres a lot to be said about managing these addictive behaviors, says Petronic-Rosic. Stress-induced behaviors, such as alcoholism and smoking, aggravate psoriasis and correlate directly to the severity of the psoriasis. A study published in January 2019 in Expert Review of Clinical Immunology found that smoking can make psoriasis treatments less effective and suggested that people with psoriasis be encouraged to enroll in smoking-cessation programs.
What Triggers Psoriasis Flare
While the underlying cause of psoriasis stems from your body’s immune system, certain triggers can make symptoms worse or cause flare-ups. These psoriasis triggers include:
- Cold and dry weather. Such weather can dry out your skin, which makes the chances of having a flare-up worse. In contrast, hot, sunny weather appears to help control the symptoms of psoriasis in most people.
- Stress. Having psoriasis can itself cause stress, and patients often report that outbreaks of symptoms come during particularly stressful times.
- Some medications. Certain drugs, such as lithium , drugs for malaria, and some beta-blockers , can cause flare-ups of psoriasis symptoms.
- Infections. Certain infections, such as strep throat or tonsillitis, can result in guttate or other types of psoriasis two to three weeks after the infection. Psoriasis symptoms may worsen in people who have HIV.
- Trauma to the skin. In some people with psoriasis, trauma to the skin — including cuts, bruises, burns, bumps, vaccinations, tattoos, and other skin conditions — can cause a flare-up of psoriasis symptoms at the site of the injury. This condition is called “Koebner phenomenon.”
- Alcohol. Using alcohol may increase the chances of psoriasis flare-ups.
- Smoking. Some experts think that smoking can worsen psoriasis symptoms.
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.
American Academy of Dermatology.
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Diet And Psoriasis: What’s The Connection
Can your diet help keep psoriasis under control? Maybe. An observational study published online July 25, 2018, by JAMA Dermatology found that people with psoriasis who followed a Mediterranean diet an eating pattern rich in fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, fish, fruit, nuts, and extra-virgin olive oil experienced fewer severe flare-ups. This was only an association and more research is needed, but experts believe the Mediterranean diet contains many foods that have an anti-inflammatory effect in the body and may offer extra protection against psoriasis triggers.
There Are Ways To Shorten Flare
Psoriasis is a big star on TV drug ads, but this autoimmune skin disease is something most people try to keep well hidden.
“Psoriasis is among the most common skin conditions, affecting about 2% of the U.S. population, and while the condition doesn’t affect everyone the same way, the approach to treatment and prevention is often similar,” says Dr. Gideon Smith, an assistant professor of dermatology at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.
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Emotional Support Can Help Reduce Stress
Identifying your main sources of stress can help you keep levels in check, and so is having a strong support system, including involved family members, Petronic-Rosic says. Counseling could also help you manage stress levels when other approaches arent enough.
You can find peer support through the National Psoriasis Foundation. The NPFs One to One program matches you with someone who has been through what you are going through. The program is run by volunteers who commit to offering inspiration, encouragement, and support for at least six months to a year. Finding youre not the only one with this disease can help you manage your stress, Petronic-Rosic says.
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How To Avoid Psoriasis Triggers
The first step in avoiding triggers is to know what they are. This can be hard, especially since psoriasis affects each person differently.
One way to figure out whats affecting you is to keep a daily journal of your psoriasis symptoms and other aspects of your day, like what you ate, how you felt, and if you tried any new medications. If you start to notice any trends associated with psoriasis flares, they could be your triggers.
Once youve identified your possible triggers, you may want to talk to your provider about them before making any changes. This is especially important if you want to stop a prescription medication or change your diet. They can also help you with specific triggers for example, to help you with a plan to quit smoking.
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Learning To Manage Stress Has Long
Psoriasis will get better or worse, go into remission or flare, but its probably going to be there for the rest of your life, says Petronic-Rosic.
Psoriasis patients should strive to develop healthy coping mechanisms, she says, so theyre not constantly stressing themselves out because they have this disease.
Additional reporting by Beth W. Orenstein.
Infections And Health Conditions
Certain infections can trigger or worsen psoriasis.
Strep throat is a throat infection caused by a bacteria called streptococcus. Its a common trigger for guttate psoriasis, a less common type that usually happens suddenly in children and young adults. Treating the infection usually isnt enough to improve the psoriasis, and you may need additional psoriasis treatment.
Other infections that can trigger guttate psoriasis include:
Upper respiratory infections
Human immunodeficiency virus is another infection that can trigger all different types of psoriasis. If this happens, getting HIV treatment may be enough to improve the psoriasis.
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New Study Shows Heat Increases Nerve Activity
New medical research into the process of facial flushing and redness has found that individuals with rosacea produce greater nerve, blood flow and sweating responses than people without the disorder when exposed to increased heat or stress. Results of the National Rosacea Society-funded study also uncovered a role for the sympathetic nervous system, which controls the fight or flight response and other key involuntary functions such as heart rate, digestion, breathing and perspiration.
Guard Against Cold Or Dry Weather
Cold air, dry temps, and diminished sunlight all contribute to psoriasis flares in the winter. Combat these conditions by using a humidifier indoors. Using heavy moisturizers helps fight dry skin and reduce the discomfort from winter psoriasis. Choose moisturizers and skin products that are fragrance-free, hypoallergenic, and formulated for sensitive skin.
Winter Skin Care Tips
Skin needs extra care and attention in the winter, whether you have psoriasis or not. Use this winter skin care tips to keep your skin healthy when it’s cold and dry outside.
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Stress Busters: How To Prevent Stress
Stress will come for you, whether its through your job, your family life, or any other avenue. Its inevitable. But you can prepare yourself to manage it.
These strategies wont eradicate psoriasis symptoms a healthcare professional will need to prescribe a treatment that works for you. But working through stress or distracting yourself might help you dodge a painful or irritating flare-up.
Give some of these stress-busting techniques a go and see what works best for you.
Triggers Of Psoriatic Arthritis Flares
Every person has their own unique experience with psoriatic arthritis flare-ups. Something may cause a flare-up in one person but not in another. Thats why its important to track and log the triggers that set off your symptoms. Show the log to your doctor. Finding a link or pattern between certain activities and your psoriasis flare-ups can help control your outbreaks.
Common psoriatic arthritis triggers include the following.
Skin trauma or injury: This might include cuts, bumps, bruises, scratches, scrapes, or infections. Prevent injuries by being careful when cooking, gardening, nail trimming, and shaving. Wear gloves and long sleeves when doing an activity that could potentially cause injury.
Dry skin: Dry skin can cause a flare-up. Aim to keep skin hydrated with moisturizing lotions and creams.
Sunburn: While sunshine is good for psoriasis, getting sunburned is not. Always carry a hat and sunscreen.
Stress: Relaxation and stress reduction tactics such as yoga and meditation can alleviate stress and anxiety. Consider joining a psoriasis support group.
Alcohol: In addition to potentially causing flare-ups, alcohol can interfere with the effectiveness of certain medications.
Excess weight: Extra pounds can stress joints. Additionally, psoriasis plaques can develop in skin folds. People with psoriasis are at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, which can be triggered by an unhealthy weight. Talk with your doctor about a diet and exercise plan.
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How Can I Manage My Stress
There are many ways in which patients with chronic conditions such as psoriasis can control their stress levelsand therefor control their psoriasis flares. Below are just a few examples of ways in which patients can manage their stress to reduce flare-ups:
- Meditation and mindfulness
- Therapy/counseling to emotionally work through stressors
Problems With The Immune System
Your immune system is your body’s defence against disease and it helps fight infection. One of the main types of cell used by the immune system is called a T-cell.
T-cells normally travel through the body to detect and fight invading germs, such as bacteria. But in people with psoriasis, they start to attack healthy skin cells by mistake.
This causes the deepest layer of skin to produce new skin cells more quickly than usual, triggering the immune system to produce more T-cells.
It’s not known what exactly causes this problem with the immune system, although certain genes and environmental triggers may play a role.
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What Is The Treatment For Psoriasis Flare
There is no cure for psoriasis, but treatments can relieve the symptoms. Treatment for psoriasis includes:
- Topical treatments, such as creams and ointments
- Prescription topical treatments
Stress Control Cuts Rosacea Symptoms According To New Patient Survey
While emotional stress is one of the leading causes of rosacea flare-ups, stress management can be highly effective in reducing its impact, according to a new survey conducted by the National Rosacea Society.
In a survey of more than 700 rosacea patients, 91 percent reported that emotional stress caused or sometimes caused their rosacea to flare up. Stress reportedly led to frequent flare-ups for 45 percent of the survey respondents and occasional flare-ups for 42 percent. Only 10 percent indicated that stress rarely affected their rosacea.
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What Are The Symptoms
There are several types of psoriasis. Symptoms for each may vary. But major symptoms are itchy and tender skin and raised, bright red patches of skin , topped with loose, silvery scales. In some people, psoriasis causes joints to become swollen, tender, and painful. Symptoms may disappear, even without treatment, and then return.
Why Does Stress Make Psoriasis Worse
Psoriasis is an autoimmune skin disease that can be passed down to you from your parents or grandparents. Stress is a common factor that can trigger your psoriasis.
Psoriasis has a stronger association with psychiatric disorders than other skin diseases. Research reports that mental stress precedes the first attack of psoriasis in 44% of patients with psoriasis and frequently triggers psoriasis flares in up to 88% of patients. Additionally, patients with high levels of psychological stress exhibit more severe skin and joint symptoms than those with low levels of psychological stress.
Stress worsens psoriasis by triggering a complex network of signals between the endocrine , nervous and immune systems. These signals stimulate the inflammatory processes in the skin and help psoriasis and recurring episodes of itching develop along with the typical skin changes.
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How To Prevent Triggers
If you learn your individual psoriasis triggers, you can prevent and lessen most of your outbreaks.
Its not always possible to avoid every trigger, but a little planning can go a long way toward preventing an outbreak. Try these steps:
- Modify your diet to reduce or eliminate common food and beverage triggers, including alcohol.
- Carry a hat and sunscreen with you at all times. You never know when you might be sitting at a sunny table at a restaurant.
- Avoid extreme temperatures, whether hot or cold, when posssible.
- Find ways to reduce stress. Taking up hobbies such as exercise or practicing mindfulness techniques may do the trick.
- Maintain a moderate weight.
- Quit smoking, if you smoke.
- When performing any activity that may cause skin injury, be sure to take extra precautions such as wearing long sleeves, wearing gloves, and using bug spray.
- Keep your skin moisturized. Dry skin is more prone to skin injury.
Doctors continue to study the treatment and triggers for psoriasis. Some of the areas theyre pursuing for future potential treatment are:
- gene therapy
Talk With A Professional Therapist
Did you know that the biggest mistake I ever made when it came to my psoriasis condition was bottling up all the emotions and depression that came with it and never telling anyone?
For 16 years, I put a brave face out to the world but internally I was in a seriously dark place.
The first time in my life where I was covered in psoriasis from head to toe was the worst period of my life. My mental health and physical appearance were in a dreadful state.
I did not understand at that time what my psoriasis triggers were and all I thought about was how I could cope living with psoriasis for the rest of my life. I would easily have traded losing a limb to be rid of my psoriasis back then.
I was at my wits end and had turned myself to acupuncture and herbalists as conventional medicine wasnt working. The acupuncturist I found cleared my psoriasis in 6 weeks but now I fully understand why.
And it wasnt the acupuncture!
He was the first person to talk to me about my condition from a mental viewpoint. He took the time during our 1-hour sessions to listen to how much it was affecting me, why I was feeling stressed and to try and explore the reasons why these were affecting me so much.
He was the first medical practitioner to actually listen to me and not talk down to me.
Since moving to other countries I have tried two other acupuncturists, and while I never got the same results, I did feel super relaxed after each visit so still happy to recommend this as a treatment.
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Get A Handle On Allergies
Allergies and Psoriasis
Although both allergies and psoriasis are due to immune dysfunction, there is no scientific proof that psoriasis is an allergic reaction. Some people who have both conditions report that allergy symptoms trigger psoriasis flares. Psoriatic skin lesions may be mistaken for allergic conditions, but the two disease processes are different.
If you have allergies and psoriasis, taking steps to control allergies may help reduce the risk of a psoriasis flare.
- Avoiding known allergens is an effective strategy to reduce symptoms. For example, if you are allergic to dust mites, minimize upholstered furniture, replace carpet with hard flooring, and dust and vacuum frequently to reduce exposure.
- Take allergy medications as prescribed by your doctor. Taking allergy medicines at the correct times and correct dosages will help minimize allergy symptoms.
- Keep track of your symptoms in a diary. If new or troubling symptoms emerge, keeping track of what you eat, where you go, and what you’re exposed to may help reveal patterns that can be used to adjust your treatment.
How Does Stress Trigger Psoriasis
When your body is injured or under attack by an infection, your immune system responds to the threat by trying to heal the wound. In an attempt to fight the infection or injury, your body sends out chemicals that cause inflammation, and scientists believe that the body responds the same way to stress. Since psoriasis is the result of your bodys immune system sending out too many chemicals, stress can compound the problem and cause a psoriasis flare-up.
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