Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that affects approximately 7.5 million men, women and children in the United States. Its most obvious symptom is red, scaly patches on the skin. These patches may be itchy and burn and sometimes are accompanied by fluid filled pustules. They can occur on your feet, arms, knees, scalp and pretty much anyplace else on your body. In addition to being physically uncomfortable, psoriasis can make patients feel self conscious and stressed. In honor of Psoriasis Awareness Month, we at Gentle Professional Foot Care want to offer some information about meeting the challenges of living with this disease.
Reducing the Itch—depending on the severity of the itching there are a number of different ways to control it. First, managing the disease and following your doctor’s instructions will naturally cut down the itching. It’s very important to keep skin well moisturized using heavy creams and ointments that lock moisture into the skin. This will also help reduce redness and enable the skin to heal. Cold showers and cold packs can help as well as over the counter anti-itch medications such as calamine and hydrocortisone. For severe itching, prescription medications—both oral and topical—are available.
Managing Stress—stress is both a known trigger for psoriasis and also an end result of having the disease, thus setting up a vicious cycle: stress causes the flare ups and the disease causes you to be stressed. It’s important for patients with psoriasis to find regular stress relievers such as exercise and meditation. You should also not be afraid to reach out for professional help if you need it.
Dealing with Work and Relationships—there’s no doubt about it, having psoriasis can make your social and work life more complicated, causing you to be self conscious about your appearance and at times limiting what you can physically do. Two keys to remember are open communication and seeking help and support when necessary. There are concrete ways to improve your work setting and manage relationships with a chronic condition. To learn more, visit www.psoriasis.org.
Since the symptoms of psoriasis on your feet can mimic other common conditions such as athlete’s foot and fungal toenails, it’s important to have any skin or nail conditions checked promptly by our podiatrist, Dr. Charles A. Suleskey. To make an appointment at our Venice office, contact us by calling: 941-493-7999.