Monday, August 29, 2011

Psoriasis Diets – The Importance of Proper Nutrition For Psoriasis Sufferers

With any disease, ensuring that the sufferer gets adequate rest, manages stress, exercises, and follows a healthy eating plan are very important when trying to overcome any sickness. The last item is of especially great importance to psoriasis sufferers to help control the condition by following a proper psoriasis diet.

Importance of a Psoriasis Diet

While there currently exists no cure for psoriasis, there are various drug therapies as well as home remedies for psoriasis that can help to alleviate the symptoms of psoriasis. Another way to manage this chronic skin condition is by following a psoriasis diet which requires making adjustments to the food consumed to help with the various symptoms of psoriasis.

While psoriasis can not be managed with a psoriasis diet alone, it can certainly help and there is no harm in trying. Psoriasis is such a complicated condition to treat and various therapies such as the use of various medicines, home remedies for psoriasis, light therapies, psoriasis diets, etc may be required before finding what works to control your particular case of psoriasis. This search and trial and error to find what works may be arduous but it is important not to lose hope and to keep trying until you find what works for you.

In addition to the various methods discussed previously, if you find that changing your diet or using various food supplements seems to help control the condition without harming you, it would seem prudent to continue with this psoriasis diet and/or food supplements.

Implementing proper nutrition is very important for a psoriasis diet especially when you think about the heavy loss of skin that results from the scales created with psoriasis as well as the inflammation during the entire period of a psoriasis flare-up which could possibly lead to nutritional deficiencies. The skin which is usually affected by psoriasis is the largest organ in the body and needs various nutrients to remain healthy. Following a proper psoriasis diet could help to add back and maintain optimal levels of nutritients.

A healthy and nutritious psoriasis diet should take into consideration the following;

  • A reduction in the amount of red meat consumed
  • A reduction in dairy products consumed that may aggravate psoriasis symptoms
  • Reduce or eliminate foods that are high in fats and sugars. Saturated fats should be reduced or eliminated as well as trans fats which are considered "bad fats." Good fats such as monounsaturated (heart helper) and polyunsaturated (physique helper) fats should be increased. Good fats are found in foods such as certain fish like salmon and tuna, walnuts, flaxseeds, soybean oil, peanut butter, olives, olive, canola and avocado oil, etc.
  • Include plenty of fruits and vegetables in your psoriasis diet
  • Quit smoking and drinking and it has been found that even small amounts of alcohol can still worsen psoriasis symptoms
  • Consume greater amounts of fiber. Avoid any foods that have the word "enriched" in the ingredients list. Look for whole grains or packaging that says whole wheat. Fiber has great healing powers in addition to lowering cholesterol, preventing constipation and lowering the risk of cancer and heart disease. While fiber contains no nutrients, it is the only way to remove harmful toxins and chemicals quickly from the digestive tract. Being constipated as a result of not eating enough fiber will ensure that these chemicals and toxins remain in the body longer and do great harm to the body.
Fiber can also help to control weight since it helps one feel fuller sooner as maintaining a proper weight is important for psoriasis sufferers. Being obese will prevent you from responding to treatment or you will respond to treatment very slowly and relapse quickly when treatments are stopped.
  • Reduce the consumption of smoked, salt cured or nitrite preserved foods
  • Ensure that the psoriasis diet contains varied foods

It also goes without saying that before starting a psoriasis diet or adding food supplements to help with psoriasis treatment, it may be important for you to discuss it with your doctor first.

While finding an effective treatment for psoriasis can be a very complicated process involving various drugs, light therapy for psoriasis, home remedies for psoriasis, etc, following a psoriasis diet can also help to control the symptoms of psoriasis when used in combination with various other therapies.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What Are The Scalp Psoriasis Signs and Symptoms?

While psoriasis affects up to 3% of the population, of this percentage of psoriasis sufferers, up to 50% of them suffer from scalp psoriasis making it one of the most common and persistent types of psoriasis. It can also be one of the most difficult to treat while at the same time robbing a sufferer of their self esteem because the signs and symptoms are sometimes clearly visible to other people.

Signs and Symptoms of Scalp Psoriasis

Although the exact cause of psoriasis remains a mystery, many researchers believe that it mainly comes about through an abnormality in the immune system that causes skin to regenerate at an accelerated rate leading to skin cells piling on top of each other is evidenced by raised, red, sometimes itchy, thick areas of the skin covered with silvery/white scales. It can also affect other areas such as the nails and joints (psoriatic arthritis). Why this abnormality in the immune system occurs is unknown. Genes or the environment may be to blame but no one knows for certain.

Scalp psoriasis is evidenced by silvery/white scales on the scalp that may be thick and form thick crusts when the scales are packed tightly together which can be very itchy. Attempting to treat these scales like dandruff by picking and scratching can only make the condition worse.

The severity of this type of psoriasis can vary between mild cases that are usually not very noticeable to very severe cases when the scales can drop onto the shoulders and collar and look like a bad case of dandruff which can be quite embarrassing for the sufferer in addition to being very itchy.

A small area of the scalp can be affected or it can cover the entire scalp in severe cases of scalp psoriasis. Flare-ups usually appear behind the ears and along the hairline and may then spread over greater areas of the scalp. This condition can also affect the ear canal when enough scales spread to this area and can impact hearing.

Severe cases of scalp psoriasis may affect the hair roots leading to hair loss but most cases do not affect the hair roots. If a sufferer experiences hair loss associated with scalp psoriasis, the hair can grow back once the condition is effectively managed.

Treatment For Scalp Psoriasis

Since there isn't a known cure for psoriasis, treating scalp psoriasis to help minimize flare-ups can be quite a challenge as what can work for one sufferer may not necessarily work for another and will usually involve a lot of trial and error. Patience and perseverance is required in order to find the treatment therapy that will work for you.

Some of the conventional treatment therapies for scalp psoriasis include the use of medicated shampoos that contain salicylic acid, tar, selenium sulfide, steroids, etc. Various scalp solutions containing steroids can also be prescribed in the form of gels, foams, lotions, etc. Other medications that may be prescribed include Anthralin, Topical Vitamin D analogues, etc, to help to reduce cell turnover leading to the silvery/white scales. There are also many effective natural remedies but most of these will involve a lot of trial and error.

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Monday, August 8, 2011

Understanding Psoriasis Causes As Well As Knowing The Symptoms of Psoriasis

Psoriasis seems to have had an elevated profile in recent days since Kim Kardashian disclosed that she struggles with this chronic skin condition. Understanding psoriasis causes as well as knowing the symptoms of psoriasis will help in finding the treatment that will work for a psoriasis sufferer which may include trying various home remedies for psoriasis in the hopes of managing this skin condition.

What Causes Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a chronic (recurring and long lasting) skin disease that affects about 1 to 2% of the general population. It is not contagious. This skin disease is evidenced by thick, itchy, red, raised skin areas that are covered with silvery white scales that commonly affect areas such as the scalp, knees, elbows, lower back although any area of the body can be affected by psoriasis.

If you are wondering what causes psoriasis, there is currently no single identified cause although many researchers believe that certain factors such as the genes, the immune system, the environment and skin cells may play a part in the advent of psoriasis.

While genes play an important role, one will not necessarily get this disease if they have a family history of the condition and another will not avoid the condition simply because there is no family history of the condition. Understanding why psoriasis develops in a particular individual is very complicated and there are no easy or clear cut answers.

It is however accepted that the immune system is critical to the development of psoriasis. Psoriatic skin regenerates skin in three to four days which is extremely faster than the normal skin regeneration period which occurs on average after twenty eight to thirty days. The overactive skin regeneration associated with psoriasis leads to the raised skin patches or plaques.

It is greatly believed that this increased skin regeneration process is the result of "faulty wiring" in the immune system which causes abnormal reactions in the skin.

Though psoriasis can develop at any age, it is commonly diagnosed is men and women between the ages of 15 and 35. And while this condition can affect anyone of any racial background, it seems to affect less people of Native American, Japanese, Inuit, West African and African American backgrounds which leads to the conclusion that environmental factors may play an important role in the development or avoidance of psoriasis.

Psoriasis Flare-Up Triggers

Psoriasis symptoms can be triggered by various factors such as infection, the climate, some medications, injury to the skin as well as stress. When trying to control these flare-ups, it is important to recognize the particular triggers and try to control them as a way to manage psoriasis in addition to using various drugs as well as home remedies for psoriasis.

Know The Symptoms of Psoriasis

Knowing the symptoms of psoriasis will help in finding treatment as well as knowing what the trigger as that led to the development of a particular symptom. The symptoms of psoriasis vary depending on the type and severity of the psoriasis and the appearance of psoriasis can vary from one sufferer to another which also means that various treatments such as home remedies for psoriasis will affect sufferers differently.

Psoriasis usually appears as dry, red, raised, scaly patches of skin. About 15 to 30% of psoriasis sufferers also suffer from arthritis causing what is known as psoriatic arthritis evidenced by swollen, tender and stiff joints. Psoriasis can also affect the nails and cause crumbling of the nail bed as well as deformity with the nails.

There are many drug therapies to deal with the symptoms of psoriasis and many such as home remedies for psoriasis will usually involve a lot of trial and error because what will work for one sufferer may not necessarily work for another. Even though psoriasis can affect only small areas, its impact on a sufferer can still be great since we live in an image obsessed world and every slight imperfection can lead to ridicule or the loss of self esteem. The skin is the largest organ of the body and is visible to other people and suffering from psoriasis can be very burdensome.

It is important not to give up on finding the treatment for psoriasis that will work for you which may include using various home remedies for psoriasis that will be effective at controlling this disease. There currently exists no known psoriasis cure but there are various therapies that will work at reducing or eliminating flare-ups many of which are discussed on this website.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Using Light Therapy For Psoriasis Treatment

While finding the most effective treatment for psoriasis can be a challenge including finding effective home remedies for psoriasis, light therapy for psoriasis is another treatment method that has been found to be effective for many psoriasis sufferers. The use of natural sunlight or artificial light for the treatment of psoriasis has been known to be beneficial for those with psoriasis.

Light Therapy For Psoriasis

Usually finding the treatment that works to prevent psoriasis flare-ups will involve a lot of trial and error especially if you are searching for natural psoriasis treatments that will help you reduce or eliminate the various symptoms of psoriasis. This is certainly true when experimenting with various home remedies for psoriasis and what is more natural than using sunlight to treat psoriasis.

While sunlight is natural, it can also be deadly if care is not used when using light therapy for psoriasis. There are three types of radiation that are associated with sunlight – ultraviolet (UV) radiation, infrared radiation and the visible light spectrum.

  1. Ultraviolet Radiation

Ultraviolet light waves are the most effective light therapy for psoriasis treatment.

  1. Infrared Radiation

This light cannot be seen but can be felt in the form of heat in some cases (longer infrared light waves). Shorter infrared light waves on the other hand cannot be felt.

  1. Visible Light Spectrum

These are the only light waves that can be seen and they are seen in the form of colors of the rainbow.

UV Light Waves and Psoriasis

As mentioned previously, UV light waves are the most beneficial part of sunlight that are generally used during light therapy for psoriasis. The three types of UV rays in sunlight are;

  • UVC
  • UVB
  • UVA

Light therapy for psoriasis uses mainly UVA and/or UVB light waves. UVC rays cannot penetrate the earth's protective ozone layer.

UVB rays are the main part of sunlight that cause a change in skin color or a tan and these rays are also responsible for sunburn. UVB can be used on their own or in combination with various other treatments including home remedies for psoriasis in order to treat psoriasis and prevent flare-ups.

In the case of the use of UVA rays during light therapy for psoriasis, the treatment is only effective when the UVA rays are combined with psoralen which is a chemical that reacts with someone's DNA when in the presence of light and is mainly used in light therapy for severe acne and psoriasis. Using UVA rays without combining with psoralen will usually be ineffective in the treatment of psoriasis.

Precautions With Light Therapy For Psoriasis

While light therapy for psoriasis is an effective treatment, many dangers still persist and it is important to consult with your doctor before beginning this therapy. It is very important to gain an understanding of how your skin will react when light therapy is administered. You will need to let your doctor know first if you are taking any medications that may increase your sensitivity to UV rays, if you have other health problems that may also increase your sensitivity to UV rays as well as if you have a history of skin cancer.

If you have a history of skin cancer, light therapy for psoriasis should be avoided to prevent you from increasing your risk of developing new skin cancers. Using artificial light sources such as those used in phototherapy can increase your risk of developing melanoma (the most severe type of skin cancer) especially if the therapy is for an extended period. When using light therapy over an extended period, it is advisable to have your skin regularly checked to ensure that you do not develop melanoma or other skin cancers.

There are many therapies that are effective for treating psoriasis such as drugs, following a psoriasis diet, home remedies for psoriasis, etc, and light therapy for psoriasis is another beneficial treatment for patients with psoriasis. Before beginning this therapy, it is important to talk to your doctor because of the various damaging effects of sunlight and artificial light including skin cancers and premature aging.