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Can weight loss help in treating psoriasis?

Psoriasis a chronic autoimmune condition which causes rashes and itchy, scaly patches on the skin and joints, most commonly the knees, elbows, trunk and scalp. It is a common, long-term disease with no cure.

Explaining the causes of psoriasis, Dr Mandeep Singh, HOD-Plastic Surgery, Paras Health, Gurugram said, “The exact causes of psoriasis are not fully understood, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic predisposition, immune system dysfunction, and environmental triggers such as infections, injuries to the skin, stress, smoking, certain medications and changes in climate.”

Treatments are available to help you manage symptoms, as well as lifestyle habits and coping strategies which can aid in dealing with psoriasis.

There’s also interest in things other than medications that may help manage the skin disease. According to a study published in the journal Dermatology in 2017, evidence suggests that obesity is a risk factor for psoriasis, which aggravates the condition, and that weight reduction may improve the severity of it in overweight individuals.

Similarly, Dr Shrea Kapoor, a dermatologist took to Instagram to share how losing weight helps psoriasis. “If you or a family member have skin lesions of psoriasis, then you could benefit by losing some weight. Weight gain is an inflammatory state and so is psoriasis. When you lose even 5 per cent of the body weight, you can reduce the itchiness, scaliness, and formation of new plaques in psoriasis. And if you are prone to getting psoriasis, keeping your weight in check can stop you from getting it,” she said.

Talking about the same, Dr Singh said that losing weight can have a positive impact on managing psoriasis symptoms and overall well-being. “While weight loss may not be a cure for psoriasis, it can contribute to reducing inflammation and improving the effectiveness of treatment,” he noted.

The expert noted that since obesity is associated with chronic inflammation, which exacerbates psoriasis symptoms, weight loss can help decrease inflammation markers in the body, potentially leading to a reduction in psoriasis severity. “Studies suggest that individuals with psoriasis who are overweight or obese may have a poorer response to certain treatments. Losing weight can enhance the effectiveness of medications and other therapies, improving symptom control,” he informed.

Additionally, Dr Kapoor recommends lifestyle changes such as reducing processed sugary food, increasing good fats like sources of Omega-3, and walking for at least 30-45 minutes a day, to manage symptoms of psoriasis.

In conclusion, Dr Singh said that effective management of psoriasis involves a comprehensive approach that considers various factors, including weight management, along with appropriate medical treatment and lifestyle modifications. “Consulting with healthcare professionals can provide personalised guidance on managing psoriasis symptoms and achieving a healthy weight.”