Psoriasis Top Tips for managing your psoriasis Guide 4

Guide 4
Top Tips for managing
your psoriasis
If you’re struggling with your psoriasis, exercise might be the
last thing on your mind. But exercise isn’t just about getting
fit. Exercise has also been shown to help ease stress and
depression,1 which can often be associated with the worsening
of psoriasis symptoms.2 Here are some tips and hints to help
get you started:
Ask your doctor
Be flexible
Start gentle
Heart health
The kind of exercise which may be best for
you will depend on your age and general
health – it’s best to speak with your doctor
before starting a new exercise regime.
Strength and endurance
Keep it fun
Don’t go it alone!
Exercises which help improve flexibility,
such as yoga and pilates can be a gentle
introduction to getting active. Start with 15
minutes of activity and build up from there.
Swimming and walking are great ways
to have a gentle work out. Swimming is
particularly good if you cannot do any
weight-bearing exercise.
Introducing aerobic exercises (e.g. continuous
exercise for 20 minutes that leaves you slightly
out of breath e.g. – cycling, running, swimming,
aerobics) to your routine will help improve
circulation, strengthen your heart and benefit
your lungs.
Adding strengthening (e.g. pilates, light weights
and resistance exercise) will help build your
muscles and increase your stamina.
Whatever exercise you choose make sure
it’s something you enjoy and look forward
to. Once you get into a routine and start
to feel the benefits, you’ll find it’s easier to
motivate yourself.
Exercising with a friend will help motivate
you especially if you are not used to exercising
regularly. Friends are great at encouraging
you and keeping you going when you might
not want to!
Healthy eating
Healthy eating is an important part of living well. A balanced
diet should provide all of the nutrients you need. Here are
some top tips to get you started:
Variety and balance!3
Eat a variety of foods, ensuring you
get the right amounts of the main food
groups (carbohydrates, protein, fruit and
vegetables, dairy):
(e.g. bread, pasta, rice, potatoes) should
make up about one third of your diet. Try to
eat unrefined carbohydrates where possible
(such as brown rice and brown bread).
(e.g. meat, fish, eggs, pulses, seeds, nuts)
needed to help build and repair your
body. Try to vary the types of protein you
eat. Two servings of fish a week can be
beneficial, and alternate between red meat
and other proteins.
Fruit and vegetables
(e.g. banana, apple, kiwi, spinach, broccoli)
aim to eat at least 5 portions of fruit and
vegetables a day.
(e.g. cheese, yoghurt, soya) good source of
calcium, protein, vitamins and minerals.
Food triggers
Eat fresh
Extra measures
Treat yourself!
Watch your weight3
Maintain a healthy weight by controlling food
portions and reducing the amount of foods you
eat which are high in fat (especially saturated
fat) and cholesterol. For example, you can
use low-fat spread instead of butter.
Keep it low
Use salt and sugar in moderation. Choose
food with reduced salt content, or no added
salt. Many foods contain natural sugars but try
to avoid having too much of foods which are
high in added sugars such as soft drinks,
cakes and biscuits.
Some medications may be less effective
if you eat certain foods. Your doctor or
pharmacist will tell you if this applies to the
treatment you are taking and will be able
to give you more information.
You may notice that certain foods trigger a
worsening of symptoms. It’s useful to keep
a note of this in a diary, so you can track any
affects. Before cutting out foods make sure
you speak with your doctor.
Try to cut down on processed foods. If you
can, it’s great to try to cook meals from scratch
at least a couple of times a week. This will
allow you to use more fresh ingredients and
cut down on the amount of cooking oil used
(a good tip is to buy a spray oil so you only
use the small amount you need to cook with).
Ideally you should try to lower alcohol intake
and cut out smoking. If you are struggling
with this, your doctor will be able to advise
you and offer support. There is evidence
to suggest that excessive alcohol consumption
can increase the risk of health problems.4
Smoking has also been linked to the increased
risk of developing psoriasis.5
It’s fine to have a treat every now and again
as long as you generally stick to a healthy diet.
Try to drink two litres of water a day. If you
are hydrated, it will help your body to function
at its best.
General skin and nail care
Together with your treatment, by making good skin and nail
care part of your daily routine, you can help improve your
psoriasis and lessen the likelihood of flare-ups caused by
drying, or external irritants. Here are a few hints for better
skin and nail care: 6
Washing hands and feet
Gentle cleanse
Try to minimise hand washing and do so only
when necessary for hygiene. After washing,
pat dry thoroughly, especially around nails and
apply moisturiser, or medicated cream.
There are specialist products which can be
bought or prescribed by your doctor called
emollients. These are a gentle way to wash
and can help avoid scratching or irritating
your skin.
When drying your skin, pat dry rather than
rub. Be careful not to irritate or scratch
psoriatic patches.
Protect hands
Be natural
Sun protection
Wear gloves if you are doing housework,
gardening or activities which involve contact
with irritants.
Wear natural fibres, such as cotton and
linen next to your skin. This will help minimise
irritation, particularly in hot weather.
Use a high protection factor sunscreen
to protect yourself from sunburn which
can damage skin and cause flare-ups.
If your feet are affected by psoriasis, keep
them clean and dry to prevent bacterial or
fungal growth, wear cotton socks and open
shoes or sandals where practical. If you are
doing strenuous outdoor activity, or exercise,
you may want to wear sturdy footwear to
protect your feet.
Keep it short
Loosen up
Summer feet
Keep the toenails short and smooth to reduce
the risk of infections. Do not cut nails too
close to the nail bed and cut toenails square
to help avoid damage.
Wear shoes that are not too tight and give the
toes enough room to move.
if your toenails are affected, you may want
to consider wearing shoes, or sandals by the
beach, or pool to help avoid them getting
knocked or irritated by chemicals, salt or sand.
Also see the Treatment options section.
Seasonal skin care7
Your skin may react differently through the changing seasons.
We want you to be able to make the most of life all year round,
so we’ve included some advice to help you take extra care of
your skin and manage your psoriasis, whatever the weather:
Spring and summer
1 Moderation!
Exposure to sunshine can be beneficial,
Autumn and winter
Drying times
8 Switching
on your heating in cold weather
but in moderation!
Be sensible in the sun
It’s good to enjoy the sun and we need sunlight
to help us absorb vitamin D to keep us healthy.
When the sun is at its strongest (between 11am
and 2pm), as well as using sunscreen, cover-up
sensitive areas with suitable clothing i.e. t-shirt,
hat. Remember, sunlight can penetrate glass,
clouds, water and thin clothing. Even shade can’t
provide complete protection. Be aware that
some treatments for your psoriasis may
increase your sensitively to sunlight.
Medication aware
can dry out the air in your home and this may
affect your psoriasis. You can use a humidifier
to add moisture to the air in your home.
Everyone can burn, especially those with paler
skin. Always use a high protection factor
sunscreen and remember to reapply regularly
and particularly after swimming. Your doctor
or pharmacist can help you find a sunscreen
that’s right for you.
Be aware if your medication increases sensitivity
to light. Your doctor or pharmacist will let you
know if this applies to your treatment.
Wrap up
Lock in moisture
Moisture wash
Chemical irritation
Chemicals used to clean swimming pools or
salt in sea water can irritate or dry out skin.
Shower when you leave the water. Pat dry,
apply moisturiser and sunscreen.
Keep it light
Wear loose light and comfortable clothing that
allows the air to circulate and sweat to evaporate.
Keep well hydrated by drinking at least two
litres of water a day.
Date of preparation: March 2012 STE pso WEB FEB2012 EMEA 204
Turn heating down or off during the night.
Cool air is less drying. If you’re feeling
cold at night, wear bed socks and get a
warmer duvet.
Keep well hydrated by drinking at least two
litres of water a day.
The wind and cold can blast your skin but
it’s good to get out from centrally heated
buildings into the bracing air. If skin feels
cold or irritated you can wrap up with warm
clothing to keep cosy and help prevent
winter skin damage.
Apply moisturiser while still wet from the
bath, leave to soak in for a minute or so
and pat dry. Re-apply moisuriser and any
medicated treatment throughout the day,
as directed by your doctor, or pharmacist.
Use moisturising soaps, or shower gels.