August brings us Psoriasis Awareness Month. This autoimmune disease affects approximately 7.5 million Americans and results in thick red patches or plaques on the skin that can become painful and extremely itchy. The autoimmune response can lead to other more serious ailments as well such as psoriatic arthritis. Though there is currently no cure for psoriasis, there are tools and treatments that can help manage the pain and itching.
There are several factors that make managing your parent’s psoriasis a little more difficult as they age. These include:
- Medications. There are several medications that can exacerbate the symptoms of psoriasis. Be sure to bring a list of over-the-counter and prescription medications to your parent’s pharmacist and ask them if any of the drugs listed could cause an increase in your parent’s condition. Other medications such as prednisone can produce a type of psoriasis when the medication is stopped—a withdrawal response. Some medications that are generally recommended are not well-received by the elderly.
- Psoriatic Arthritis. This painful form of arthritis peaks in occurrence between the ages of 57 and 60. Elderly onset psoriatic arthritis occurs in those who are older than 60 and is often associated with a severe onset. According to a report in the journal Joint Bone Spine, psoriatic arthritis is associated with a higher risk of high blood pressure, an increase in cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. In addition, psoriatic arthritis is often diagnosed because of pain occurring in joints. This fairly common complaint among the elderly may be overlooked. If your parent has psoriasis and joint pain begins to develop or increases, be sure to make an appointment with their primary health care provider.
- Aging Skin. Aging skin is thinner and more susceptible to reactions from topical applications. For this reason, topical ointments designed to soothe the itching skin must be tested on your parent before general application is performed.
How to Help your Parent.
According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, more than a third of Americans use complementary and alternative therapies to help control the symptoms associated with psoriasis. These include physical therapies, acupuncture, exercise, yoga, Tai Chi, dietary approaches, and herbs and supplements.
Though there are no strong scientific studies to support the link between diet and psoriasis, many people have found relief by changing their diet. This includes reducing inflammatory-producing foods such as those that are packaged and processed and often high in saturated fats, salts and sugars, and sticking to foods as close to nature intended. It’s also a good idea to check for food allergens. Some report going gluten-free has decreased their symptoms.
Bathing in mineral waters has been shown to break down the plaques that characterize psoriasis. If your parent does not reside near a natural hot mineral spring, they can make a spa at home by adding one of the many mineral bath products to their warm bath water. It’s best to use organic products with no added unnatural fragrances.
Yoga and Tai Chi.
Both of these slow moving yet powerful exercises bring an increase in blood flow to areas affected by psoriasis as well as reduce stress and ease joint pain.
Home Care Provider.
Though psoriasis can be irritating at best and painful at worst, there are ways to manage this disease. A naturopathic doctor may be able to offer additional solutions involving natural healing agents, and a home care provider can assist your parent with their everyday activities including preparing healthy meals, doing the grocery shopping, helping with daily hygiene and reminding them when it’s time to take their medication.
If you or an aging loved one are considering home care in Walnut Creek, CA, contact the caring staff at Provident Home Care. Call today (877) 572-3411.
Robin Conley RN., Owner and CEO of Provident Care Home Care Providing HOME CARE- ASSISTED LIVING PLACEMENT ASSISTANCE
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