Anupam Chawla, a father of two, and many other people like him suffering from Psoriasis, know exactly how this skin condition has affected their lives.
Experts aren’t sure exactly why the immune system of some people go into an overdrive and encourages their skin to shed at a much quicker rate than normal but this is the root cause of psoriasis symptoms such as red patches of skin, scales, cracked skin, itching and soreness.
One theory is that the immune system attacks healthy cells, which tricks your body into producing more white blood cells and skin cells. Skin cells then move through their life cycle much more quickly than normal and result in these symptoms.
Psoriasis symptoms can come and go but a lot of sufferers find that there are situations that suddenly trigger a flare up out of the blue or make an existing flare worse.
Here are 5 common triggers for Psoriasis flares:
Stress is one of the biggest triggers for psoriasis. Some people find that this disease first appears after a stressful period and existing symptoms often flare up again when you’re stressed.
This can be a tricky trigger to deal with as you can’t always avoid stress. What you can do is work on changing the way you react to stress so that it’s less likely to cause a flare up of your symptoms.
Learning how to relax is key as a lot of people with psoriasis find that their symptoms aren’t so bad when they’re calmer. Activities such as meditation, mindfulness, yoga, regular exercise and guided imagery can all help reduce stress.
#2 Cold Weather
Another pattern you may spot with these symptoms can be linked to the weather. It is pretty common for psoriasis to improve when the weather gets warmer and flare up again when the temperature dips.
This can be because cold weather dries out your skin and indoor heating can make the situation worse by stripping even more moisture from your skin. Using a humidifier in your home can help reduce dryness, as can regularly applying an intensive moisturizer when the weather cools off a bit. Keeping your skin well hydrated can stop it getting overly dry and reduce the intensity of your symptoms.
You may well find that being in the sun helps your psoriasis symptoms to clear up but exposing yourself too much to the sun can also be a trigger, especially if you get sun-burnt.
If you drink alcohol fairly regularly, you may notice that it triggers a psoriasis flare. Drinking more than one alcoholic drink a day can be a psoriasis trigger for some people.
What you drink can be a factor too. A study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital found a link between psoriasis and drinking non-light beer two to three times per week. If this is your usual drink, it could well be the culprit!
Alcohol in general can encourage inflammation so you may want to stay clear of it or at least cut down on the amount you drink to see if these kind of symptoms improve.
There can also be a link to stress if you tend to use alcohol as a way to cope with it.
#4 Skin Injuries
For some people, skin damage can trigger psoriasis symptoms in areas where it wasn’t previously a problem.
Even something as minor as a cut, scratch or burn can also trigger these symptoms to develop in the surrounding area. Sunburn can also be a problem.
This doesn’t happen to everyone with psoriasis but when it does, it is known as the Koebner phenomenon.
There isn’t a lot you can do for this trigger, other than trying to avoid injuring or damaging your skin in the first place.
Symptoms of Psoriasis can get worse after you have been ill, especially if you have had strep throat, tonsillitis, bronchitis, or a respiratory infection.
Illness makes the immune system more active, which isn’t great news when you have psoriasis. Your immune system is already on the overactive side so any extra activity is going to make a flare up even more likely.
Bacterial or viral infections such as strep throat can actually trigger these kinds of diseases in the first place, especially for children. This is usually a type of psoriasis called guttate psoriasis. Sometimes, symptoms of guttate will go away on their own and never come back but they can also be chronic.
Treatment for Psoriasis Flares
Corticosteroids are one of the most common psoriasis treatments and can reduce inflammation and itching when symptoms first appear. Other treatments can reduce build up of scales, slow down skin turnover and moisturize the skin. If your disease is severe, you may also be treated through light therapy and short term oral medications.
Keeping a log of your psoriasis symptoms can help you to spot patterns and identify triggers that encourage them to come back or get worse. Once you know what kind of things are posing a problem, you can start taking steps to avoid them or reduce their impact and look at your treatment options.
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Are you suffering from or have Psoriasis? Consult Online with Easyderma.