Five Facts You May Not Know About Psoriasis
Psoriasis affects men and women of all ages. The symptoms vary from mild to severe and can be especially serious if you’re a senior. The knowledgeable caregivers at Pegasus can help you treat and monitor the condition of your skin.
The first, and probably the most important, fact to know about psoriasis is that it is not contagious. No one catches it. People are mistaken when fear makes them refuse physical contact with you.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune means your immune system is erroneously attacking you instead of protecting you. Research has pinpointed a genetic factor as one of the reasons for autoimmune diseases.
You may develop psoriasis at the site of an old injury. The exact cause is unknown. Whatever the cause, there is no way of preventing psoriasis.
Secondly, psoriasis never completely goes away, although you may experience periods of remission. Triggers for flare-ups vary among individuals. Your home health caregiver can help you recognize your triggers and reduce flare-ups.
- Too much or too little sunlight
- Weather that is too hot or too cold
Home health care can help you reduce or eliminate your triggers.
Thirdly, psoriasis breakouts can occur anywhere on your body.
Favored locations are:
Psoriasis can also infect your genitals.
The different kinds of psoriasis are:
- Plaque: round or oval patches that are red and scaly
- Inverse: moist red patches
- Pustular: blisters and pustules dotting the patches
- Guttate: multiple small red and scaly patches
- Erythrodermic: burning, itchy, and painful redness covering most of the body
Each kind has a preferred area of skin to infect, and each kind requires different treatment.
The Role of Home Health Care for Seniors With Psoriasis
Fourthly, seniors with psoriasis have complications that younger sufferers usually escape.
You may have other conditions such as:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Celiac disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Kidney disease
- Parkinson’s disease
These can be worsened by psoriasis, or they can make your psoriasis worse.
As time passes, you may be taking medications for these or other medical conditions. Those medications may interact adversely with psoriasis medications.
You may also discover that the treatments for other medical conditions make your psoriasis worse. Or the opposite may occur. Your psoriasis medications may worsen your other conditions.
Psoriasis in Seniors Is Hard to Successfully Treat
Depending on your overall health, you may not be able to tolerate certain psoriasis treatments. All of these factors combine to make medical relief from psoriasis difficult to obtain. Specialists in home health care are trained to recognize if psoriasis treatment is helping or hurting you.
Treatments include, but are not limited to:
- Injected or oral drugs: these are often based on Vitamin A derivatives. Many of the drugs are very powerful, with serious side effects. Home health care professionals have the ability to carefully monitor your condition after treatment.
- Phototherapy: this is treatment with ultraviolet A or B light. It can be administered via laser, depending on the severity of your psoriasis. A caregiver will help you with the pre-treatment steps to prepare your skin for treatment.
- Topical: these are creams or lotions smoothed on your skin. They may be OTC like moisturizers, or prescription products, such as corticosteroid creams. A home health caregiver can ensure that your daily skin care product is applied correctly everywhere it’s needed.
Biologic therapy is a newer treatment for psoriasis that doesn’t respond to traditional treatments.
Your physician will suggest treatments for you based on:
- Your overall health
- The type of psoriasis you have
- The severity of your psoriasis
- The potential side effects
- The expected benefit
When you aren’t sure about what to do, your caregiver will arrange a counselor for you.
It may be necessary to try more than one treatment before you find the most effective one for you. Sometimes it’s necessary to alternate treatments. That keeps them from losing their effectiveness.
Psoriasis Is a Multi-Faceted Condition
A final fact about psoriasis that may surprise you: it’s a mental as well as physical condition. When you have a flare-up, you may be too self-conscious to go outside. You can become depressed and isolated.
You also face challenges in doing chores that used to be easy. Even a small flare-up impairs your ability to perform everyday activities. A major flare-up can take you down for a prolonged period.
The World Health Organization has noted that individuals worldwide suffer needlessly from psoriasis because they’re stigmatized. Even if you feel like engaging in social activities, your peers may shun you. That can hurt more than the disease.
One of the criteria for measuring the severity of your psoriasis is its effect on your quality of life. Without help, the physical aspects can make the mental aspects worse. As you feel worse mentally, your physical symptoms can worsen.
Psoriasis doesn’t have a cure yet. But with assistance from Pegasus home health care professionals, you aren’t alone in coping with your symptoms. Treatment and their care will help you regain your ability to enjoy life.