Are You Flaring?
Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis have been a part of my life ever since I can remember. I remember my father asking me years ago did anyone ever find out what was the cause of me getting this disease? I told him that there is research being done on genes to see if this is all linked together. He is now 84 and waiting with me for a cure.
Genetics, psoriasis and PsA
We all know that our DNA is passed from our parents from generation to the next generation. There are cells that determine our hair, skin and eye color. This is based off the chromosomes that we have in our bodies. I have 2 younger sisters who both have an autoimmune disease, but neither one has psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis.
The body is made up of different types of genes that make up our immune system. The gene that attacks our body has taken control of our swelling, back pain, itching, and stiffness. I developed psoriasis first which caused me to have very thick dark patches all over my body and 25 years later I got psoriatic arthritis which causes great pain in my body.
Understanding what our triggers are
What differs between the ten percent of the population with the gene for psoriasis and the two to three percent of those people who develop it are the triggers. The other thing that medical professionals believe is the cause of some people’s triggers is a person’s situation. I grew up in poverty and have always thought that this is the trigger for my disease. No one ever told me this, but in my heart, I believe this was a trigger. I was 5 when I got this disease. I'm not sure what happened to me that triggered me to get psoriasis at such an early age. I know that as an adult I have emotional triggers that cover every aspect of my life and I have had outbreaks because of this.
What causes some triggers
This is an excellent question. My doctors have told me that some medications I take can cause a trigger. There are medications such as ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers that can cause flare-ups. Just having this disease itself can be very stressful. I know when I’m stressed I get serious outbreaks. The weather, if it’s cold or hot, is also a trigger. I know that I need to lose a few pounds or if I’m having any hormonal change that this can cause a trigger too. I’m not sure if alcohol intake makes matters unhealthier, but it has been said it can worsen your condition.
Understanding and tracking my triggers
Over the years one of my worst triggers is when I catch a cold or get any type of infection. This causes my psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis to flare. After years of having triggers and not knowing what causes them, I decided to keep a journal. This is when I realize I have several triggers. I was on a medication that caused me to flare; and there are certain foods that I can’t eat anymore; such as cheese or red meats. These are foods that I loved, but no longer can eat. Vegetables that have solanine which are some of the nightshades people are saying make their condition worst. I have been hearing about nightshades for years, but they don’t seem to be a problem for me.
My doctor and I did some trial and error on me to narrow down what my triggers where. It was over a few months period. You just need to learn to avoid certain things and substitute others. It’s not easy at all to give up foods that you loved. This is a lifestyle change and requires discipline.
Keep working on finding what triggers you have; it could be something that could change your life forever.
Can you exercise with your PsA symptoms?