Living with psoriasis

    • Brief

    • Psoriasis is a skin disease that lasts for a long time. You can have serious itchy, painful and scaly skin or scalp, and the swelling may deform your nails and joints. It may affect the quality of your life, and you may be more prone to having high blood sugar, heart disease, and depression. You can read more about the condition here- psoriasis.

      Following your diagnosis, you can take steps to improve your quality of life. Self-care is the mainstay of the management of this condition. It is best to take responsibility for your care, working with your healthcare provider to ensure there is minimal impact on your quality of life.

    • When you get the diagnosis

    • Being diagnosed with psoriasis can be worrisome and may make you feel conscious about your skin. Even though there is no cure, there are things you can do to relieve your symptoms. If you find out you have psoriasis:

      • Keep track of your symptoms and what makes them better or worse, like foods, activities and weather.
      • Do things that will not make your skin dry such as changing your soap to a moisturizing type and using scent-free moisturizing creams plus vaseline every 3-4 hours.
      • Take short warm baths infused with scent-free oils once a day to once in three days, pat your skin dry instead of rubbing and do not scratch your skin.
      • Wear loose breathable clothes that will not cause friction on your skin or make you sweat.
      • Try to reduce your alcohol intake and stop smoking once you get diagnosed.
      • Try to talk to someone immediately if you feel sad or overwhelmed about your skin condition to reduce your stress and likelihood of getting depressed.
    • Work and your health

    • You will still be able to work if you have psoriasis. However, it would help if you tried to reduce your stress level at work because this can easily trigger your symptoms. You can let your boss know or get people to help you if you own your business.

      If you have severe pain and itching that disrupts your work, use over-the-counter painkillers like paracetamol and anti-itching medicine like loratadine. Once you are back from work, engage in relaxing activities like yoga, meditation or anything that calms you.

      You should discuss chemicals, solvents or other substances you may be exposed to in your work environment with your healthcare provider.

    • Diet and nutrition

    • Foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and healthy oils contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances that can reduce the seriousness of your psoriasis. Ensure that you wash your fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating, as preservatives and other chemicals used in fruits can cause psoriatic flare-ups.

      Eating a healthy balanced diet can also reduce your risk of having high blood sugar and heart problems. You should limit how much processed or fast foods and red meat you eat and how much alcohol you drink. Find out more by reading this linked post- eating a heart-healthy diet.

    • Physical activity

    • Engaging in regular physical activity is essential. Exercising will help your body develop resilience and quickly eliminate toxins. Your workouts should be moderately intense and not too strenuous. Exercise will keep your body healthy and relieve you of stress.

      See this linked post to read more about exercise.

    • Support from family and community.

    • Getting support from your family is very encouraging if you have psoriasis, so try to talk to them about your psoriasis. They can help you emotionally and financially.

      You can join support groups in your community so you do not feel alone. If there are none around you, you can search for online groups on facebook.

    • Financial impact

    • Because psoriasis is a chronic condition, you may need to put some money aside every month to cater for over-the-counter medications that can relieve your itching and pain, but these are generally not expensive. If those do not work, you may be given more potent steroids by your doctor; these may be more expensive.

      Because of your sensitive skin, you may need to buy new moisturising soaps and creams different from other family members. The prices depend on the brands that work for your skin, but they are generally more expensive than ordinary soaps and lotions. Vaseline (unscented petroleum jelly) is cheap and easy to get in Nigeria but can be unsuitable during the rainy season. 

      You will need to budget for healthcare provider visits, especially if your psoriasis is severe or doesn't respond to standard therapy. In that case, you will need to pay consultation fees per appointment. The cost will depend on how frequent the visits are. In Nigeria, consultations are cheaper in government hospitals than in private hospitals. 

    • Kulawa cares

    • Psoriasis is not curable, but you can live a high-quality life without a lot of flare-ups. To do this successfully, you must take the time to learn about your condition, take responsibility for your care and work with your healthcare provider to achieve treatment goals.

      Psoriasis is a long-term condition, and complications often come up. You should continue to follow your healthcare provider's recommendation to reduce the impact of this condition on your health.