Battling Plaque Psoriasis In Seniors: Here’s What Doctors Need You To Know

Plaque psoriasis, a chronic skin condition, often intensifies with age, posing unique challenges for seniors. It is essential to understand its impact on older adults and the effective strategies for managing it. For seniors grappling with plaque psoriasis, comprehensive care begins with exploring the options below, as informed by medical professionals.

Plaque psoriasis is a long-term, uncomfortable autoimmune disorder that causes skin cells to pass away and reproduce too quickly. It produces unsightly red and white patches of skin, which are typically rough, itchy, and covered in scales. Mild-to-moderate cases of this condition are most often seen on the scalp, knees, elbows, and back. In serious cases, it can spread over the entirety of the body, such as the hands, feet, face, legs, and torso. A person's risk of developing plaque psoriasis can be heightened by various elements, including skin color, smoking, chronic stress or depression, obesity, alcohol consumption, and not taking medications as directed.

Flare-ups can be caused by a variety of factors, such as certain foods and beverages, sun exposure, emotional stress, dry skin, skin irritation, and even remissions of plaque psoriasis. At this time, there is no cure for the skin condition, but a variety of therapies and treatments can help to reduce the severity, provide relief, and improve overall quality of life. The prescribed treatment plan will depend on the extent of the plaque psoriasis.

Prescription Topical Treatments For Psoriasis
Dermatologists typically recommend topical treatments, which are specially formulated creams that are applied directly to the skin. These medications must be prescribed by a healthcare professional and work by regulating the rate of skin cell production, thereby reducing inflammation associated with psoriasis. The active ingredients in topical steroids are derived from corticosteroid hormones naturally produced by the adrenal glands, which have powerful anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce swelling and discoloration from plaques. In addition, certain new treatment approaches involve combining a topical corticosteroid with a retinoid to create a more comprehensive therapeutic regimen.

In the event that a topical steroid isn't the most appropriate option for you, your medical practitioner may suggest a non-steroidal topical treatment. These medications contain components such as anthralin, synthetic vitamin D3 and vitamin A which are effective in managing psoriasis plaques.

Over The Counter Topic Treatments
If your psoriasis is not severe, you can go for the over-the-counter topical treatments available in many forms, such as lotions, foams, tars, bath solutions, shampoos, etc. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of salicylic acid and coal tar in all these treatments for psoriasis. Additionally, other products may also comprise of components such as aloe vera, jojoba, zinc pyrithione and capsaicin, to keep the skin moisturized, provide relief from itching, and reduce flaking.

UBV Light Therapy For Psoriasis
Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays are present in sunlight and are an effective treatment for psoriasis. These rays penetrate the skin and impede the growth of afflicted cells. The FDA has approved two types of UV Light Treatments. During this type of treatment, the skin is exposed to an artificial UVB light source for a set period of time on a recurrent basis. This therapy is conducted in a healthcare facility, clinic, or at home utilizing a phototherapy device. Home therapy units are very convenient and can help to save cash each month on medical center visits.

Dermatologists often suggest using narrow-band UVB treatment for three reasons:

UVB light bulbs release a restricted spectrum of ultraviolet light, since too much can be dangerous to the skin.
They usually clear psoriasis more quickly, produce more desirable results and have longer periods of remission.
It requires fewer treatments per week.
Oral Treatments For Psoriasis
When UV light is not suitable or does not provide the desired results, a physician may suggest systemic treatments. Such drugs, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), Soriatane, Cyclosporine and others, work throughout the body and are typically recommended for those with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis.

Oral systemic treatments have been available for more than a decade and can be taken in liquid or pill form. More modern systemic medications target molecules within immune cells to adjust the inflammatory processes and correct the overactive immune response that triggers inflammation in psoriatic disease, resulting in marked improvements in redness as well as a reduction in psoriasis scales, tenderness, and swelling.

Alternative Home Remedies
When seeking quick relief from the symptoms of plaque psoriasis, there are many home remedies available. However, it is advised to consult a healthcare provider prior to attempting any of these remedies.

Antihistamines may be taken over-the-counter to reduce severe itching.
A lukewarm bath or shower of no longer than 15 minutes is suggested, as well as utilizing mild and fragrance-free soaps and other products for sensitive skin.
Moisturizing the skin several times a day with cream or ointment, including after bathing, is recommended.
Coconut oil can be beneficial for hydrating the skin and providing relief.
Dead Sea salt should be added to a warm bathtub at 95 degrees Fahrenheit and the affected areas should soak for a minimum of 10 minutes each week.
Loose-fitting clothes should be worn in order to permit airflow to the affected areas.
Research has demonstrated that certain herbal remedies, such as aloe vera, may provide some degree of comfort.

Other Considerations

To ensure an accurate diagnosis, your physician may order some exams to discount other skin issues that bear a resemblance to eczema or dermatitis, like allergy tests, biopsies and blood tests.