Weight Loss Correlations with Psoriasis Relief?
While there is currently no cure for psoriasis, the immune system disease that causes overproduction of new skin cells, a recent study has explored how weight loss affects the symptoms of psoriasis. Psoriasis causes red and white scaly patches on the top layer of the skin, or causes the skin to turn a silvery-white color. It is most commonly found on elbows, knees, scalp, palms of hands, soles of feet, genitals, fingernails, and toenails. It can expand to cover the whole body depending on the severity of the case.
Psoriasis is the most common autoimmune disease in the United States, affecting 7.5 million people. The cause of psoriasis is still unknown, though it is most likely a genetic disease that is triggered by environmental factors.
Since it has already been determined that weight gain increases the severity of psoriasis, new research sought to understand how weight loss could improve symptoms. The results were astounding. In this study, 60 obese patients were selected to take a low-caloric diet for 8 weeks then be reintroduced to their normal food intake or continue eating ordinary healthy foods.
They found that the patients that lost weight had a significant reduction of psoriasis symptoms. This is a critical correlation not only for the improvement of symptoms but also for the decrease of cardiovascular risk factors, as psoriasis is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.
Limitations in this study include drawing from a small pool, having a short follow up period of 16 weeks, the primary investigator was aware of treatment so may have had a biased estimation of effects, most patients only had mild to moderate psoriasis, and 12 patients were treated with anti-inflammatory drugs which may have effected their ability to loss weight.
At the same time, the positive results of this study make focusing on weight loss an important part of treating psoriasis patients. It may be coupled with topical treatments, phototherapy, or systemic medications. This could greatly improve the quality of patients’ lives as they work towards the most effective treatment.
[image by Katie Harris]