Psoriasis Awareness Month 2023: Identifying Environmental And Lifestyle Factors That Aggravate Symptoms Of This Autoimmune Disease

Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune skin condition that can be triggered or exacerbated by various environmental and lifestyle factors. While the exact cause of psoriasis is not fully understood, these triggers can play a significant role in worsening the symptoms. 

According to Dr Swapna Priya, Consultant – Dermatology of CARE Hospitals, HITEC City, Hyderabad talked about environmental and lifestyle factors that aggravate the symptoms of Psoriasis.

Identifying and managing these triggers can help individuals with psoriasis better control their condition. 

Here are some common triggers to be aware of:

1. Stress 

Stress is a well-known trigger for psoriasis flare-ups. High stress levels can lead to immune system activation, which can worsen symptoms. Practicing stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, yoga, and deep breathing can be helpful.

2. Infections

Infections, particularly streptococcal infections, can trigger or worsen psoriasis symptoms. Strep throat, for example, has been linked to the onset of guttate psoriasis. Prompt treatment of infections may help prevent flare-ups.

3. Weather

Cold and dry weather can lead to skin dryness and irritation, potentially triggering psoriasis symptoms. On the other hand, some people experience improvement in warmer, more humid climates. Proper moisturizing during cold weather can help.

4. Skin Trauma

Injuries to the skin, including cuts, scrapes, sunburns, and even tattoos, can trigger the Koebner phenomenon, where psoriasis develops at the site of the injury. Being cautious and protecting your skin can reduce the risk.

5. Medications

Certain medications, such as beta-blockers, lithium, and antimalarial drugs, can trigger or worsen psoriasis symptoms. If you suspect a medication is impacting your psoriasis, consult your healthcare provider before making any changes.

6. Alcohol and Smoking

Excessive alcohol consumption and smoking have been linked to increased psoriasis severity and reduced treatment effectiveness. Quitting smoking and moderating alcohol intake can have positive effects.

7. Diet

While there’s no specific “psoriasis diet,” some people find that certain foods may trigger flare-ups. Common culprits include spicy foods, alcohol, and processed foods. Maintaining a balanced, healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can be beneficial.

8. Obesity

Obesity is associated with a higher risk of psoriasis and more severe symptoms. Losing weight through a healthy diet and regular exercise can help improve both psoriasis and overall health.

9. Hormonal Changes

Hormonal changes, such as during pregnancy or menopause, can impact psoriasis symptoms. Consult a healthcare provider for guidance on managing psoriasis during these times.

10. Allergies

Allergic reactions or sensitivities to certain substances, such as fragrances or dyes, can trigger psoriasis symptoms. Identifying and avoiding these triggers can be helpful.

11. Alcohol Consumption

Excessive alcohol consumption can exacerbate psoriasis symptoms. Reducing alcohol intake or avoiding it altogether may help manage the condition.

12. Smoking

Smoking has been linked to an increased risk of developing psoriasis and worsening symptoms in those who already have it. Quitting smoking can have positive effects on psoriasis and overall health.

It’s important to note that triggers can vary from person to person, and not everyone will experience the same reactions. Keeping a journal to track symptoms and potential triggers can help identify patterns. 

If you have psoriasis, working closely with a dermatologist or healthcare provider can help you develop a personalized plan for managing your condition and avoiding triggers.

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