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Psoriasis Awareness Week 2021
Psoriasis Awareness Week 2021 ran from Friday 29th October to Thursday 4th November.
Please use the links below to navigate to the relevant section.
- Professor Griffiths Q&A
- Real life stories
- Facebook Live sessions
- 'Pso: Let's Talk Research' webinar
Psoriasis Awareness Week runs annually and aims to raise awareness of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. This year's theme focused on lifestyle factors that may be important to consider when living with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, including diet and exercise.
These topics are regularly asked about via our helpline and within our communities. Not only that, but understanding more about the role of lifestyle factors in treating psoriasis was identified as the number one psoriasis research priority by the 2018 Psoriasis Priority Setting Partnership (PSP), and so we wanted to bring you up to speed on what we know so far.
World leading psoriasis expert, Professor Chris Griffiths, kicked things off on World Psoriasis Day with a Q&A video about psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis and lifestyle. This was followed by two Facebook Live sessions with experts in nutrition and exercise, and a webinar - 'Pso: Let's Talk Research' held in collaboration with St John's Derm Academy.
For the first time ever, we also decided to hold our own Psoriasis Awareness Week fundraising challenge (#PsoActive29) to encourage you, your family and friends to get active and raise awareness. You can still sign up to take part in the #PsoActive29 now - find out more here.
On World Psoriasis Day 2021 we were delighted to bring you a new video in which world leading psoriasis expert, Professor Chris Griffiths, Professor of Dermatology at the University of Manchester and Honorary Consultant Dermatologist at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, answered some commonly asked questions about psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis and lifestyle.
In this video, Professor Griffiths answers the following questions:
- Are lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise important in managing psoriasis? (0:23)
- Are lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise important in managing psoriatic arthritis? (1:54)
- Can any particular lifestyle factors, such as diet or lack of physical activity, make psoriasis better or worse? (2:47)
- Can any particular lifestyle factors, such as diet or lack of physical activity, make psoriatic arthritis better or worse? (4:18)
- Are people with psoriasis at an increased risk of developing any other conditions? If so, can diet and exercise help to prevent this? (5:03)
- What is motivational interviewing and how can people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis get the most from their treatments and improve their conditions? (8:27)
- Overall, what message could you give to people with psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis to get the most from their treatments and consultations? (10:29)
A big thank you to Professor Griffiths for giving up his time to share his expertise.
Did you know that moving more could have a positive impact on your psoriasis/psoriatic arthritis? Not only that, but it can also improve mood, weight and heart health too!
That is why we invited people to take on a new fundraising challenge in aid of our 29th Psoriasis Awareness Week: The #PsoActive29.
The #PsoActive29 launched on World Psoriasis Day (29th October 2021) and ran until 29th November 2021. To take part fundraisers were invited to pick any activity around the number 29 and complete their challenge between 29th October and 29th November 2021.
We were delighted to see our fundraisers take on such a range of exciting and challenging activities, from running 29 minutes a day, to 29 crunches and lunges, to walking 290 kilometres during the month!
Combined our fundraisers raised over £1,800 - what an achievement! Thank you to everyone who took part or donated.
Over the course of Psoriasis Awareness Week, we shared the real life experiences of Janine, Joel and Nikki, who have all found lifestyle changes beneficial for the management of their psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis.
Read Janine, Joel and Nikki's stories below:
"I suffered with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis from the age of 22 to 40. At 40 I was prescribed methotrexate after many years of using steroid creams, light treatment along with many other treatments. Unfortunately methotrexate didn’t work for me and I was left feeling down and wondering what was next.
I decided to try healthy eating, improving my gut health and to try and become more physically active as I was overweight from being inactive and medication.
Healthy eating helped me with weight loss which improved my confidence and my joints were feeling the benefits too. I hadn’t ran since my school years but decided to start the Couch to 5k program which I successfully completed in 9 weeks.
A combination of healthy eating, natural remedies and exercise improved my skin, which was a welcomed change.
The changes had a positive impact on my overall health including mental health and my healthy eating and exercise became good habits.
Within months my skin and joint issues had significantly improved which gave me the motivation to keep going to reach my target weight. The thought of going back to suffering again motivated me and exercise was a priority and part of my new lifestyle.
Through the COVID-19 pandemic I remained active and I am happy to say at 46 I am the fittest I have been since leaving school and I am regularly climbing mountains, running events to raise awareness of psoriasis for the Psoriasis Association and have maintained clear skin and improved joint and better mental health for the past 6 years."
"When my arthritis was well managed, I never thought about my lifestyle choices. Instead, fuelled by a desire to make the most of every moment after a childhood spent in hospital beds, I never wasted a minute of remission as an adult with psoriatic disease.
The introduction of biologics gave me a second life. I played hockey, rode RideLondon100, ran the Great North Run and at my peak in my early thirties, I even turned my hand to rugby.
Sport was my social life, my passion and everything in between. So, when my psoriatic arthritis was no longer controlled, when a flare in 2019 slowly stripped away my mobility, I was lost, lonely and angry.
A year of grieving and depression passed until I realised I had to do something. My physical situation was damaging my mental health, and my family suffered as a result. So when Shielding came to an end for me last August, I started to walk.
It was a slow and painful start, a few hundred yards at first, but even that released some pressure. It gave me space to think - a change of scene. It didn’t fill the social void I had inherited from my flare, but it gave me the confidence to entertain facing the world once more in a vastly different body.
A year later and I am walking a staggering five miles a day. I have filled the social void with my advocacy, but I wouldn’t have the energy for any of that if I didn’t start by putting one foot in front of the other last year.
I thought I was physically active because I could – I had no idea I did these things because I must; for my arthritis and mind."
Being diagnosed with Palmoplantar Psoriasis in my early 20s was challenging; my self-confidence had completely gone. I felt depressed that I couldn't even be myself. I needed to be happy and accept myself but I knew this wouldn't happen overnight and would take lots of self-belief.
Making healthy food at home instead of eating processed food made a huge difference. Fizzy drinks and alcohol were gone. I still have the odd glass of wine but listening to my body is more important.
Talking therapy has been life-changing. I never knew how much I had built up inside me until I started talking. Talking to someone who didn't know me made it easier to open up. I ended up talking more than I thought I would.
I re-evaluated my life and decided it was important to only keep elements close that brought out the best in me. If something gave me negative vibes or feelings of anxiety, I would try to understand why. If it still impacted my peace of mind, I removed it from my life.
It was hard but the most peaceful decision I ever made. I now focus on making more decisions that will bring me peace. I would love to open my mind and learn about yoga and other things that will challenge me to go outside of my comfort zone. I now feel ready to take this step in my life. It feels so liberating.
During Psoriasis Awareness Week we held two Facebook Live sessions with experts in nutrition and exercise. The videos of both sessions are now available to watch below.
Consultant Dermatologist and nutrition expert, Dr Thiviyani Maruthappu, and Professor of Health Psychology/Behavioural Medicine at Cardiff University, Professor Christine Bundy, discuss the role of nutrition in psoriasis with our Chief Executive, Helen McAteer.
The following questions are discussed in this video:
- Is there evidence for nutrition in psoriasis? (1:21)
- What is a Mediterranean diet? (6:34)
- Do supplements help with psoriasis? (11:36)
- Practical tips - what changes could people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis start today, and how can they start? (18:14)
- What research is taking place in this area, and how can people get involved? (22:48)
Dr Maruthappu and Professor Bundy finish by answering questions submitted by viewers who watched the session live. (28:10)
Our Patient Advocacy and Communications Manager, Dominic Urmston, is joined by Psoriasis Association Trustee and Dermatology Nurse Consultant, Karina Jackson, and Physiotherapist and Rheumatology Clinical Lead, Jack March, to discuss the benefits of exercise for people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
Karina presents on psoriasis and exercise, including the benefits of exercise for people with psoriasis, common barriers to physical activity, and some tips for getting you moving. (01:22)
Jack speaks about psoriatic arthritis and exercise, including particular types of exercise that can be helpful for managing the condition, overcoming the challenges of physical activity when you have psoriatic arthritis, and the role of the physio in supporting people who are living with psoriatic arthritis. (23:34)
Jack and Karina then took part in a Q&A where they answered questions submitted by viewers who watched the session live. (39:10)
A big thank you to Dr Maruthappu, Professor Bundy, Karina and Jack for giving up their time and sharing their expertise.
The Psoriasis Association and St John's Derm Academy were pleased to collaborate for a second time to bring you 'Pso: Let's Talk Research', a free webinar of informative talks from experts at the forefront of psoriasis research and practice, which took place via Zoom on Wednesday 3rd November 2021.
Professor Jonathan Barker provided an overview of the programme before Dr Satveer Mahil gave an update on psoriasis research during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the latest from PsoProtectMe.
Next, Nurse Consultant in Inflammatory Skin Disease, Lucy Moorhead, presented the TALK Discussion Guide from the Itching to Talk campaign, followed by an update on the BSTOP study from Professor Catherine Smith.
The evening concluded with a Q&A where attendees put their questions to the whole panel, including Psoriasis Association Chief Executive, Helen McAteer.