Hey, friends! Welcome to Week 2 of Psoriasis Awareness Month (#PsAM16).
Throughout the month, we’re introducing weekly themes to teach you everything you need to know about psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, while motivating you to help spread the word that psoriasis isn’t contagious – awareness is!
We have some entertaining challenges to partake in and awesome prizes on the line, but first you should do these five things:
- Visit the PsAM16 page each week to unlock a new challenge.
- Some of these challenges have a social media aspect, so be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram to participate.
- Keep your eyes on Advance Online and NPF Blog for weekly updates and clues.
- Read our PsAM16 terms and conditions. It’s not that boring, we promise!
- Catch up on last week’s theme, Get Informed, and take the Week 1 challenge.
Week 2: Get Healthy
Living with psoriasis can feel unbearable at times. You’re blowing through bottles of lotion like they’re going out of style. And you’re always looking for creative, new ways to combat the itching and flaking so you can avoid rude stares, get a decent night’s sleep and feel somewhat normal.
Those with psoriatic arthritis know it’s all about pain management and figuring out how to deal with the pain, stiffness and swelling you feel in and around the joints – not to mention the nail changes and constant fatigue. You just want to get through the workday in one piece and not be confined to your couch on the weekends.
But focusing solely on treating the symptoms of psoriatic disease is like slapping a Band-Aid over a deep wound that requires stitches. To really feel better, you’ve got to concentrate on the root of the problem – your immune system – and learn how to fight this disease from the inside out. That starts by getting Whole Body Healthy.
Whole Body Healthy
Your immune system is not a fan of cigarettes and alcohol, which is why most health care providers urge patients to quit smoking and cut down on their liquor consumption. Research has shown these can worsen your psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Let go of these bad habits and find healthier ways to cope.
It also helps to be at a healthy weight. Research has found a link between obesity and an increased risk for psoriatic disease as well as increased disease severity for those who already have it. Dropping a few pounds could not only lessen your disease severity, but also improve the effectiveness of your treatments.
Weight loss is a lot easier once you separate the facts from the myths. The trick is to work with your doctor on a diet plan that works for you. Figure out how to make it fun. Swap out your favorite comfort food with healthier options. Repeat these three words throughout the day: drink more water. And remember to reward yourself sometimes.
Exercise will help you lose weight and lower your risk of developing comorbidities such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. U.S. fitness guidelines recommend a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise at least five times a week.
Pick something you enjoy, and you’ll be more likely to stick with it. Remember that people with psoriatic disease have physical limitations, so check with your doctor before trying a new workout routine. Yoga and swimming are often recommended for those with psoriatic arthritis who suffer from sore, stiff or swollen joints.
Check out our best diet tips and easy ideas to get the most out of your summer workouts, whether you’re outside or at the gym.
Now that you’re on track to physically feel your best, it’s important to heal those emotional wounds too. After all, living with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis can take a toll on your mental health. Research shows that those living with psoriasis have a 39 percent increased risk of being diagnosed with depression, while the risk of an anxiety diagnosis is 31 percent higher.
Stress is a common trigger for a psoriasis flare, and at the same time, a psoriasis flare can cause stress. Put an end to this vicious cycle by finding healthy ways to reduce your stress and focus on positive thinking.
Remember, important lifestyle changes like these don’t happen overnight. Healthy habits take time and discipline. Set achievable goals, take baby steps and if you fall off the wagon, dust yourself off and get right back on. It happens to the best of us.
Take the Week 2 Challenge
Now that you have the tools you need to show your immune system who’s boss, we want to know what motivates you to get Whole Body Healthy. Take the Week 2 challenge for a chance to win a prize. Good luck, and we’ll see you next week!
Driving discovery, creating community
For more than 50 years, we’ve been driving efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected. But there’s still plenty to do! Learn how you can help our advocacy team shape the laws and policies that affect people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – in your state and across the country. Help us raise funds to support research by joining Team NPF, where you can walk, run, cycle, play bingo or create your own fundraising event. If you or someone you love needs free, personalized support for living a healthier life with psoriatic disease, contact our Patient Navigation Center. And keep the National Psoriasis Foundation going strong by making a donation today. Together, we will find a cure.