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How to sooth and manage psoriasis through diet and exercise

Posted Oct 06 2012 6:11am

More than 125 million people around the world have the autoimmune condition known as psoriasis. Recently, scientists have suggested that psoriasis patients may have a higher risk of developing diabetes, having high blood pressure and producing more leptin, which leads to obesity.

Despite worldwide intensive study no cure has been found for this unpleasant and often painful condition.

Psoriasis sufferers know how bad the skin can get – itchy, dry, hurting and scaly. Although unfortunately there is no known cure for psoriasis, there are ways to alleviate the condition, by using certain products for treating the skin, by following a specific diet, by abstaining from certain foods, alcohol and smoking.

The main rule for people affected by psoriasis is to keep the skin moist at all times. If they are able to keep the skin moisturized, the skin will heal easier, and the itchiness and dryness will become much more bearable. The scaling will be reduced, along with the soreness associated with it.

The other rule to keep psoriasis under control is to take baths everyday whenever possible.  This is necessary to soak the dry skin in order for it to fall off, and will have an overall soothing effect on the skin.

The baths will be even more effective if Dead sea salt is added to the warm water. Also, there are oils or colloidal oatmeal (finely grinded powdered oatmeal), which will help relieve the soreness and itchiness of all the dry skin.

It is important to moisturize the entire body after each bath, and during the day whenever necessary.

Also, it is very important to use products which don’t further irritate the skin.  It is best to use mild soaps and shampoos or specialized products for psoriasis when bathing or showering. Other products to be careful about are deodorants, lotions, washing products, etc.

Apart from the external irritants, people with psoriasis need to ensure internal balance and calmness. Stress has a negative impact on psoriasis, and in many cases, it is actually stress which “awakens” psoriasis in a person in the first place.  So, avoiding stress, maybe trying some yoga or meditation, or other forms of relaxation could help.

Natural and artificial UV light is also soothing for the skin of people affected by psoriasis. There are specialized UV phototherapy treatment apparatuses for professional treatment and for home use as well available, but are quite expensive.  The cheaper alternative is the sun light. 3-4 sun bathing sessions a week should help the skin heal, but of course prevention should be taken for the skin which is not affected by psoriasis, with the appropriate sun protection product.  The positive side of the artificial phototherapy equipment is that only the beneficial UV wavelength is emitted and the doses are restricted, thus the risk of getting skin cancer is limited to minimum.

Another very important factor which affects psoriasis is the person’s diet. Smoking and alcohol are known to trigger flare-ups, so limiting and quitting is a good idea, if you want to take control over your psoriasis.

Also, limit the consumption of red meat, high fat dairy products, over-spiced meals, carbonated beverages and lemons and other citruses, wheat and sugar, and try eating more poultry and fish with lots of vegetables.

Combine this sensible diet with regular exercising. Recent studies have suggested that intense and vigorous exercising can help prevent and control psoriasis outbreaks. This again, is because through intense exercising, anxiety and stress are reduced.

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