Better living with psoriasis
Impact of psoriasis on quality of life
In one study, 3 out of every 4 people with psoriasis felt that their condition had a negative impact on their quality of life. Since psoriasis and its skin lesions are visible to others, it's to be expected that you might feel stress or some degree of social stigma, or even have poor self-esteem.
The emotional impact of psoriasis may lead to feelings of helplessness, embarrassment, anger, frustration, and self-consciousness. The Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) is a validated tool that is used by dermatologists to assess the impact of skin conditions on your quality of life. It is one of the tools that the doctor may use to assess how well your condition is responding to treatment. The dermatologist can use this tool together with other validated tools to determine the severity of your psoriasis and create an individualized treatment plan that provides the best result, the fewest side effects, and the most satisfaction for your needs.
Psoriasis is not merely a cosmetic condition. Psoriasis can have a huge impact on your quality of life in general and on how you feel in your relationships, work, and school. In fact, its impact on physical and mental function is similar to that of other chronic and serious conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, depression, and arthritis.
The good news is that psoriasis can be effectively treated and managed. Treating psoriasis can help improve your quality of life. Read more about psoriasis treatments and talk to your doctor about what you can do.
Effective psoriasis treatment varies from person to person. Finding the right choice for yourself may take several tries and will require close collaboration between you and your doctors and nurse practitioners. Various treatment options can have different advantages and disadvantages; the best choice will maximize the benefit while minimizing the risks. You should also consider the impact of the treatment on your quality of life.
Take steps now to improve your life with psoriasis:
- Assess its impact on your life. How is psoriasis affecting your quality of life? Take the Psoriasis Questionnaire to find out.
- Continuously work with your dermatologist and nurse practitioners. Keeping track of how you're doing with the treatment plays an important part in managing psoriasis. It may take several tries to find the right option for you. Make sure you keep up with your psoriasis.
- Find things that help you relax. Meditation, writing, and smiling and laughing are great ways to help cope with stress. Read more about living well with psoriasis.
- Get active. Physical activity can help you feel better and healthier.
Psoriasis and your relationships
People with psoriasis report that their condition severely disrupts their day-to-day interactions with family, friends, and co-workers. While life with psoriasis can be tough, you don't have to let it stop you from building and strengthening your relationships with the people you care about.
Here are some tips for maintaining healthy relationships while living with psoriasis:
- Build a support network. When you're living with a condition like psoriasis, you need to have a few people you can depend on through thick and thin – whether your skin is clear or you're having a flare-up. Develop a network of contacts who can give you an emotional boost when you need it. This might mean turning to family, close friends, counsellors, health care professionals, or people you've met in the psoriasis community.
- Be honest. Honesty is the best policy when it comes to close relationships. Tell your friends and family when you need help and be open about how your psoriasis makes you feel. Sharing your feelings will help strengthen the relationship.
- Talk to people about psoriasis. When you educate others, they learn to accept and understand your condition and what you must do to live with it.
You can still have fulfilling and rewarding relationships with psoriasis; don't be fazed by the condition. There are various strategies that you can employ to keep living well with psoriasis.
If you find you're having trouble balancing your relationships with managing your psoriasis, talk to your doctor for advice on how to cope.
Healthy living with psoriasis is possible. Living healthy with psoriasis involves:
- eating healthy
- making sure you are using the most effective treatment
- finding the right treatment option that meets your expectations and provides you with satisfactory results
- staying physically active to help you feel better and healthier
- avoiding your psoriasis triggers
- finding a support network to help you deal with the impact of psoriasis
You should also learn to care for your skin and nails.
Skin care tips to help you manage psoriasis:
- Keep your skin moisturized. Moisturizing will help prevent dry skin and itching. Use a moisturizer or emollient after showering or bathing to help seal the water into your skin.
- Keep the air in your home and office moist by using a humidifier, especially in the winter, when dry heat can worsen psoriasis.
- Avoid scratching the skin and picking at lesions.
- Try a warm oatmeal bath to help relieve itching.
- Use warm, not hot, water when showering or bathing. Dermatologists recommend short, warm showers with fragrance-free cleansers. Do not rub the skin dry; gently pat instead.
- Wear cotton clothing, which is less irritating to the skin than other fabrics.
- Try swimming (in saltwater, if possible), which is good exercise and helps psoriasis by removing dead skin.
Nail care tips to help you manage psoriasis:
- Cut nails straight across to prevent ingrown nails. Before cutting nails, soak them for 10 to 20 minutes in warm water.
- Keep nails as short as possible.
- Use manicure scissors to trim up to the point where the nail is firmly attached to the nail bed.
- Avoid vigorous rubbing and scraping when cleaning the nails.
- Wear gloves if you need to work with your hands.
- To help prevent the friction that causes toenails to thicken, wear comfortable, roomy shoes.
- Nurses who work in psoriasis clinics may have very practical and effective tips about triggers and your daily life.