This article will explain how being fat can exacerbate psoriasis symptoms, and how weight loss can improve them, so read on, and remember – no snack breaks allowed!
Flab, Fat Rolls, Love Handles and Psoriasis
Warning: This section might be disturbing. Essentially, losing weight helps psoriasis because it eliminates the extra sweating, chafing and rubbing from flab rolls. Thin people have bodily areas where their skin folds and rubs against itself too, but this is a bigger concern for larger people.
The reason why this aggravates psoriasis is twofold (no pun intended!) Firstly, the rubbing is not good for sore skin, and secondly, the deepened skin folds can create “natural occlusion”, which is problematic. If you haven’t heard of it, it is the same thing as using Saran Wrap, Clingfilm or bandages to cover up cream on psoriatic patches and keep it from evaporating, being wiped off or washed off.
This increases the effectiveness of medication by many folds – but it also increases side effects! For example, if overweight people use highly-potent steroid creams on their psoriasis, it can cause more skin-thinning than on smaller people. Hence, losing weight helps psoriasis because it melts away the fat rolls which worsen it.
Apart from that, larger people also sweat more. This is bad for psoriasis because it can irritate the skin, particularly in moist areas such as in the armpits and the groin area, and also rinse away topical creams, making its treatment difficult.
Overweight Problems Are More Than Skin Deep
Being overweight is also bad for psoriasis because of what is going on inside the fat. Researchers think that the constant, low-level inflammation in fat cells is similar to the inflammation found in the autoimmune disorder that is psoriasis.
For example, researchers have observed elevated levels of TH-1 cytokines in obese patients, which are part and parcel of chronic inflammation. Losing weight can help psoriasis because every pound lost reduces the levels of internal inflammation. In fact, researchers know that weigh loss can decrease amounts of C-reactive proteins, which are produced in response to inflammation.
If you are still unconvinced, here is the evidence stating that gaining weight / being obese is bad for psoriasis! In 2011, the Geisinger Medical Center reported how they observed a dramatic improvement in the psoriasis of two patients who underwent gastric bypass surgery to lose weight. One of the women had a serious case of plaque psoriasis covering 75% of her body, and the other patient had it spread around 50%.
After the surgery, their weight plummeted, and the results were like a psoriasis miracle. The first one had a pre-surgery BMI of 52 kg/m2 that dropped to 34 kg/m2. Guess how much of her body the psoriasis covered a few months later – only 9%!
In terms of other studies, the 2005 research in Archives of Dermatology revealed how obese individuals were twice as likely to develop psoriasis compared to people with a healthy weight. Furthermore, a 2006 study in Medical Hypotheses showed that excess weight also reduced the likelihood of a long-term recovery from psoriasis.
Does losing weight help psoriasis? You can bet your bum on it! Hopefully such research will motivate anyone reading this to try and lead a healthier lifestyle – in return you’ll be slimmer, get fitter and improve your psoriasis. Now, we’re not advocating gastric bypass surgery here, just more diet awareness and exercise!