Children and Psoriasis: What Every Parent Needs to Know
By Stacy D. Tompkins, MD, North Coast Dermatology
When it comes to pediatric psoriasis, very few studies examine the secondary effects of the skin condition in children. Most kids who have psoriasis are prescribed medication to treat the problem, and many end up living with the skin condition for life. But as new research suggests, pediatric psoriasis may be dramatically improved in the presence of a healthy lifestyle according to reports at HealthDay.
A study conducted by Northwest University found that a healthy weight can improve the condition of psoriasis in children – conversely, obesity can exacerbate the problem.
American children who are affected by psoriasis were found to be seven times more likely to be obese than other kids who have ideal skin. But when children exhibited a healthier weight and better diet, the psoriasis was significantly improved with some cases going into complete remission.
While there’s no direct cause-and-effect of obesity to psoriasis, experts agree that obesity can drive the skin problem.
Children who are affected by psoriasis are often self-conscious and unwilling to show much skin. That, in turn, prevents the child from participating in exercise. And when kids are completely covered up, exercise becomes an uncomfortable undertaking so it generally doesn’t happen. In time, the lack of activity can result in an overweight child and the risk for psoriasis can increase dramatically.
These findings, while in effect promising, don’t reveal everything there is to know about the skin condition. There’s no doubt that psoriasis is often seen as a hereditary disease. Nearly 30 percent of children with psoriasis have a family member that is also affected by the skin condition. But despite the hereditary link, the study found that one of its most influential contributing factors is obesity. In other words, obesity motivates psoriasis.
Tips to achieve a healthier lifestyle for your child
Say no to fried foods. Eliminate fried food items from your child’s diet. This includes common foods like French fries and fried chicken. But be aware of other hidden fried foods like frozen items which, if breaded, were most likely fried ahead of time.
Promote indoor activities. While it may be difficult to convince your child to completely shed the clothing, you can try indoor sports as an alternative exercise program. Try indoor soccer or indoor ice skating. This allows your child to stay active and cool at the same time, and does not require typical exercise gear which can often show skin.
Limit fast foods. It goes without saying: fast food is loaded with fat and calories, so it’s important to limit these kinds of foods from your child’s diet. Try to reserve fast food for birthday parties or road trips – in other words, only opt for fast food when it’s unavoidable.
Increase your greens. Not only are greens loaded with wonderful nutrients, but vegetables can also promote a healthier weight due to its high fiber content. Fiber is an excellent way to feel full longer.
If your child suffers from psoriasis, consult a dermatologist in La Jolla for a specific diagnosis and prescribed treatment. North Coast Dermatology specializes in treating pediatric psoriasis. Give us a call at (858) 454-4300 to learn more about how we can help your child achieve better skin for a lifetime.
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