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More Than Skin Deep: Psoriasis in Seniors

Updated: Aug 12


At some point in your life, you’ve probably felt itchy and uncomfortable. However,

for those living with psoriasis, that level of discomfort can be a constant and

challenging reality that can be difficult to manage. In honor of Psoriasis Awareness

Month, we’re shedding some light on the oft-misunderstood immune-mediated skin

condition, and how Presidio Home Care Aides can help you or your loved one keep

the discomfort at bay.



What is Psoriasis?


According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, psoriasis is a disease that causes

inflammation in the body. There may be visible signs of the inflammation such as

raised plaques and scales on the skin. It occurs when an overactive immune system

speeds up skin cell growth. Normal skin cells take about a month for the body to

completely grow and shed. But with psoriasis, that month-long process is condensed

into a three- to four-day timeline instead. Rather than shedding, the skin cells pile

up on the surface of the skin, resulting in plaques, raised bumps, or scales that feel

itchy or give a burning or stinging sensation. Psoriasis plaques can appear anywhere

on the body, but are most commonly found on the elbows, knees, and scalp.



Other symptoms include:

  • Red or pink patches of rough, scaly skin

  • Dry or flaky skin that may crack and bleed

  • Skin that burns or stings

  • Skin that is itchy or sore

  • Thick, bumpy fingernails

  • Pus-filled blisters on the red patches of skin (in more severe cases)


Who is at risk for Psoriasis? What does Psoriasis treatment look like in aging adults?


Psoriasis symptoms can start at any age in men, women and children regardless of

skin color. It’s a long-term chronic disease with no known cure, and often occurs in

cycles. However, psoriasis is not contagious.

For older adults, psoriasis won’t make skin age faster, but managing the auto-

immune disorder might change over time due to medications and other health

conditions.

Psoriasis can also boost the risk for other age-related conditions, such as:


  • Bone loss. This can lead to conditions like osteopenia and osteoporosis.

  • Cardio-metabolic conditions. High blood pressure, high levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, diabetes

  • Obesity.

  • Psoriatic arthritis. An estimated 30% of people with psoriasis get psoriatic arthritis. This is a condition that causes stiff and swollen joints and other

  • issues like fatigue.


Treating Psoriasis


For individuals 65 or older, developing a treatment plan with your care team is a

crucial first step. Your dermatologist, as well as your primary care physician, can

provide guidance about:

  • Existing medications. Your care team can figure out if you’re already taking something that’s causing flare-ups.

  • Oral or injected treatments. Our kidneys start to slow down with age, which means they remove less waste from the body. With oral/injected treatments medications designed to work throughout the whole body -- those very treatments can build up and cause more issues.

  • Topical treatments. Considered a safer alternative, your care team will want to look out for thinning skin (skin looks more transparent), skin bruises or tears more easily, purple spots on the skin, infection (sore with pus), and blood vessels showing up on the skin.

  • Phototherapy. Light therapy that requires you to visit a medical treatment center two to three times per week, usually for a few months.

Presidio Home Care’s Promise

Presidio Home Care Aides understand that living with a chronic condition like

psoriasis can be irritating and uncomfortable. In combination with dermatologist-

recommended treatments, our Home Care Aides can incorporate activities into your

loved ones’ daily routines to mitigate flare-ups.


Our Home Care Aides can give your loved ones daily reminders to moisturize and

use sunscreen. He or she can be a companion and provide emotional support. This

can lower your loved one’s stress levels that could otherwise worsen itching and

discomfort.


Our team is thoroughly-trained to provide supportive care to individuals living with

Psoriasis. Contact Us today to learn more.

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