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Sunshine helps psoriasis plus 10 other facts

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Sunshine is a natural treatment or psoriasis: 10 facts about the skin condition

Psoriasis can happen to anybody and occur anywhere on the body. Julie Moore, M.D., dermatologist at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, part of Loyola University Health System has some information about the auto-immune skin disorder that she says can be improved with 30 minutes of sunshine.

Instead of shunning the sun for fear of skin cancer, Moore says she tells her own patients to go get out on the deck and bathe the skin in some sunshine.

“The sun is one of the best treatments for psoriasis” Moore said in a press release. She adds psoriasis is one of the most prevalent autoimmune diseases in America for which there is no cure.

The condition happens when there is an overproduction of skin cells from a case of mistaken identity. The autoimmune system attacks the skin because it thinks normal skin cells are pathogens, Moore explains.

“Psoriasis is much more than a cosmetic concern; it is often painful, difficult to heal and can be disfiguring,” says Moore.

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Cost of psoriasis

According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, approximately 60 percent of people with psoriasis missed an average of 26 days of work a year as a result of having the condition.

Psoriasis accounts for $11.25 billion in health care spending each year, with loss of work accounting for 40 percent of the annual economic burden.

10 other psoriasis facts

In addition to reminding patients that sunshine is good medicine for psoriasis, Dr. Moore shares some facts about the condition that are important for anyone with the skin condition. We have also added some extra facts.

  • Before receiving any vaccines, discuss with your primary care physician. Patients with psoriasis can have an adverse reaction to ‘live’ vaccines like the shingles shot and nasal influenza vaccine.
  • Psoriasis can occur even under the fingernails. Other affected areas that might be missed include the scalp and the soles of the feet, in addition to the face, trunk and extremities.
  • If you have psoriasis and having difficulty controlling it on your hands and feet, you are not alone. Dr. Moore explains both are frequently aggravated by use. Look for clues about what might be making the condition worse. Moore shares a story of a patient who had difficulty controlling the condition on his thumb and index finger that it turned out was made worse by using a lighter for pipe smoking.
  • Use a lotion or cream to remove the ‘crust’ that forms from psoriasis. Moore warns that ‘picking’ is the worst thing you can do. Instead, use lotions to dissolve the rough patches.
  • Psoriasis does not always itch nor does it always product a rash, contrary to popular belief.
  • Children of parents with psoriasis can inherit the disease. If both parents are afflicted, the chance is 50 percent. If only one parent has psoriasis, the risk that a child will also develop the skin condition is 10 percent.
  • Research suggests there is a connection between psoriasis and type 2 diabetes. If you have psoriasis make sure you doctor checks your for diabetes.
  • A small study published in 2009 found many patients with psoriasis also have metabolic syndrome that is a risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. The finding suggested it's important for patients with the skin condition to maintain a normal weight, eat healthy foods and follows government guidelines for limiting salt in the diet to avoid hypertension.
  • Beer has been linked to higher risk of psoriasis among women, in findings published in 2010. If you are female, have psoriasis and enjoy drinking beer, you might consider switching to wine that was not linked to higher chances of the disease.
  • Adding these top 11 anti-inflammatory foods to your diet might also help quell the pain and severity of psoriasis

Dr. Julie Moore reminds patients artificial light, combined with any number of creams and lotions; in addition to sunshine can all help treat psoriasis. If you're battling psoriasis, consider sunshine a natural remedy that can help manage the condition. Understand you may be at risk for other disease and keep your regular doctor appointments for necessary screenings. You can also try adding anti-inflammatory foods to help psoriasis.

Image credit: Wikimedia commons