There is no cure for psoriasis but that doesn’t mean you should give up hope. The choices we make (healthy and unhealthy) have a huge impact on the quality of our lives – possibly more so than for people without psoriasis. That’s because getting active and eating well may help reduce or even eliminate some of your symptoms.
First, let me share some of the health challenges I have experienced to showyou what can happen when you neglect your health.
Not long ago I was a reasonably fit dude. I had an active job, I’d walk most places and I had friends who would call me up like this:
Hit the gym tonight? Sure!
Let’s go run a 5k? Definitely!
Wanna hike for a week or two this summer? Absolutely!
My health and healthy living never crossed my mind.
A few years go by and now the picture is completely different. I’m a grown-up guy with grown-up stress. I traded the active job for a grown-up desk job. My friends are living the grown-up life now too. I’ve got kids. They’ve got kids. Young kids.
This is what “hanging out” with a buddy looks like lately: walking the kids to a park and pushing the younger ones on the swings while watching the older ones play soccer or run around.
I feel like I need to stop for a moment and talk to the guys. Men, it’s not all bad having kids. I don’t mean to make it sound like that it sucks. It totally changes your life but it’s awesome. Ok, back to the story.
The main way I get exercise now is working in the yard. I live on a big property with a big slope from front down to the back. Lots of grass, gardens and trees. We’ll come back to that in a minute.
So, why am I telling you all this? I needed to paint a picture of my life: a guy who has been active in the past but now is definitely not. But no big deal right? I’m only 34…
I ended up in the emergency room last summer. I was hauling bags of yard waste uphill from the back of the property up to the street. At the same time my 3 year old is grabbing at garden shears or something so I’m yelling at her to stop. And I’m thinking I need a break cause work’s been stressful and our third kid is on the way and…
All of a sudden there’s chest pains, dizziness and trouble catching my breath. Ultimately I was fine, but it should have been a clue that things needed to change.
Yeah, I totally didn’t change.
Fast forward to the winter. It’s been a hard week, I’ve been sick and I just need a relaxing weekend. I pop in a new action movie and I’m really getting into it. Like really into it. My adrenaline is really going.
When the movie finishes I realize something: my heart is still pumpin. And it won’t quit. I start measuring my heart rate and it’s up over 110 beats a minute. It stayed there for over an hour.
I now get regular ECG tests.
This is the point…and it might be tough to hear if this is news to you: psoriasis is linked with other diseases.
What I mean by that is that if you have psoriasis you are at increased risk of developing other health issues as well. (And note that it is only a risk, not a guarantee.)
So what do you do when you know you have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease?
Here are 3 ideas:
1. Talk to a real medical professional about treatment.
- If you aren’t seeing a GP, start. If you haven’t seen a dermatologist for a while (or ever), get an appointment. Why? Knowledge about psoriasis is evolving regularly. New treatment options are coming up. According to psoriasis.org, one study suggests some methods of treating your disease reduce you risk of cardiac events and strokes.
2. When you check in with your doctor, talk about your exercise options.
- My uneducated mind figures that exercise – done safely – will help. Ask your doctor for advice. And check out this WebMD article that suggests exercise to reduce weight, fight inflammation, decrease cardiac risks and improve the effectiveness of psoriasis meds.
3. Make healthy lifestyle changes
- Smoke? Take steps to stop. Now. Stressed? Hit a trail with some friends, take some time in the garden, read a book, try some yoga, have a bath… Whatever it is for you that brings you peace and joy. Strive to work a bit of that into every day. The science is less conclusive but evidence suggests it could really help.
At the end of the day, some things are out of our control. But some aren’t. You have the chance to improve your health starting today.
Which brings me to my last piece of advice.
Find your motivation. Mine? A great wife and 3 young kids I want to see grown with families of their own. What’s yours?
Make one healthy change today. I’m going to try to.
Mr Healthy Scratch