Psoriasis is the most prevalent autoimmune disease in the U.S., affecting as many as 7.5 million Americans. It occurs when the immune system sends out faulty signals resulting in painful red, scaly patches on the skin that bleed and itch. Psoriasis has been linked to other serious conditions, including psoriatic arthritis, cardiovascular disease and stroke. Psoriasis isn’t contagious, but awareness is.
Complementary and Alternative Therapies
Many patients today with chronic conditions, including psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, have an interest in complementary and alternative therapies—these focus more on preventative care and pain management.
Surveys for the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and National Center for Health Statistics (part of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention) show more than a third of Americans (36 percent) use complementary and alternative therapies. These therapies include diet, herbs and supplements, mind/body therapies such as aromatherapy, yoga and meditation, physical therapies, exercise and the ancient arts of acupuncture and tai chi.
Much of the evidence supporting complementary and alternative therapies for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis is anecdotal. Increasingly, researchers have studied complementary and alternative therapies particularly in looking at drug interactions, dietary outcomes and safety. Most complementary and alternative therapies are safe. However, some can interfere with your treatments prescribed by your doctor.
Always talk to your doctor or consult with a licensed health care professional before adding any complementary and alternative treatments to your treatment plan for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
Nutritional Supplements & Psoriasis
Many patients find that including vitamins and supplements in their diet helps their skin clear and may ease joint pain from psoriatic arthritis. Dietary supplements can be extracts or concentrates, and they can occur in many forms, such as tablets, capsules, softgels, gelcaps, liquids or powders.