Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin disease that develops when an overactive immune system triggers accelerated skin cell growth — rather than forming in a week, new skin cells form in a few days. With plaque psoriasis, the most common form of the condition, these excess skin cells form into thick, scaly patches (plaques) that are itchy, sore, dry, and prone to cracking.
As a systemic autoimmune disorder, psoriasis requires an attentive, multimodal management plan to reduce inflammation, keep your skin clear, and minimize the occurrence of flare-ups.
Since psoriasis is a lifelong condition that increases your chances of developing serious health problems, its effective management is even more vital as you age. Here, our board-certified specialists at Florida Dermatology Associates explore the considerations you should factor into your psoriasis approach as the years go by.
Like other autoimmune disorders, genetic predisposition is a key factor in the development of psoriasis. The other key factor? A triggering event or set of circumstances that effectively “flips the switch” on the dormant genetic possibility, setting the disease in motion. Factors that can trigger psoriasis development include:
Psoriasis triggers are associated with symptom flare-ups, too. They set off an excessive and erratic inflammatory response that causes immune cells to attack tissues they shouldn’t. This response is the underlying mechanism that leads to skin inflammation and the development of thick, scaly psoriasis plaques.
Over eight million people in the United States are affected with psoriasis. While it can emerge at any age, it has two peaks of onset: between the ages of 20 and 30 and between the ages of 50 and 60. No matter when psoriasis appears, proper management is of the utmost importance.
Psoriasis management has three coinciding goals:
Gaining control of psoriasis requires you to learn and avoid your personal psoriasis triggers, stick to a psoriasis-friendly skin care regimen, lead a healthy lifestyle, and use medication, topical ointments, or interventional treatments like light therapy when necessary.
Psoriasis doesn’t inherently tend to worsen or improve with age. However, it requires ongoing and responsive management to keep it in check as you get older.
Monitoring this may mean adjusting your daily care routine as your skin becomes thinner and drier with age; it may also mean changing psoriasis medications, taking lower-dose medicines, or using different treatments to control symptom flare-ups.
Our team helps you adjust your psoriasis management plan as time progresses, evaluating our approach when you turn 65 years old, when age-related skin and body changes may necessitate treatment plan adjustments or new control strategies.
But for the entire time you have psoriasis, we work alongside your primary care provider to monitor your health and the effectiveness of your treatment. We monitor this because the body-wide inflammatory effects of the psoriatic disease can drastically increase your risk of developing other serious health problems.
When one medical condition is triggered by or linked to another, it’s known as a “comorbidity.” Common comorbidities of psoriasis-related inflammation include:
Psoriatic arthritis is especially common — about one in three people with psoriasis eventually develop chronic joint pain and swelling because of ongoing systemic inflammation.
Fortunately, when you understand your risk for comorbidities with psoriasis, you can take steps to minimize that risk and prevent complications. In addition to effective psoriasis management and routine preventive care visits with your doctor, healthy lifestyle habits can go a long way in helping you protect your long-term well-being.
Whether you have more psoriasis flares than you’d like, or it’s been a while since you evaluated your management plan to ensure it’s as effective as needed, we can help. Call or click online to make an appointment today at your nearest Florida Dermatology Associates office in Palm Bay, Cocoa Beach, Cocoa, Melbourne, or Titusville, Florida.