The name PSORIASIS is derived from a Greek work Psora which mean to itch. Psoriasis is a chronic (long-lasting) autoimmune disease – the body’s immune system is mistakenly reacting to some of your own body’s cells. With normal skin, your body produces new skin cells and sheds the old ones every 28 to 30 dyas. Skin cells affected by psoriasis are produced much faster and are pushed to skin’s surface in about 3 to 4 days, while the dead skin cells on the surface pile up on top of each other instead of falling away on their own The resulting build up forms the dry, scaly, red, itchy patches called plaque. About 1 – 3 % of the population suffers from psoriasis irrespective of age, caste, sex or geographic location.
The exact cause of Psoriasis is still unknown and is one of the biggest challenge in the field of Dermatology. It may or may not be due to one or more of the following – Faulty diets, Stress, Heredity, Psoriasis can also be provoked by external and internal triggers, including mild trauma, sunburn, infections, systemic drugs etc. Researchers think something sets off your immune system. The exact reason is a mystery. But it's likely a combination of genetics and triggers.
1. Your Genes and Your Immune System
Little bits of your DNA, called genes, are instructions for your cells. They control things like your eye and hair color, if you can taste certain things, and other ways your body works. Some genes are only active at certain times.
When you have psoriasis, the genes that control your immune system signals get mixed up.
Instead of protecting your body from invaders as it's designed to do, it promotes inflammation and turns skin cells on overdrive.
Scientists have found about 25 genes that are different in people with psoriasis. They think it takes more than one to cause the disease, and they're looking for the main ones.
About 10 in every 100 people have genes that make them more likely to get psoriasis, but only two or three of them actually do.
2. Hormone Changes
The disease often shows up or flares during puberty. Menopause can also trigger it. During pregnancy, your symptoms may get better or even go away. But after the baby’s born, you might have a flare.
Scientists think your immune system may respond to emotional and mental pressures the same way it does to physical problems like injuries and infections.
Those with a family history of psoriasis have an increased chance of having the disease. Some people carry genes that make them more likely to develop psoriasis. When both parents have psoriasis, their offspring have a 50% chance of developing psoriasis. About one-third of those with psoriasis can recall at least one family member with the disease.
The main objective behind any kind of treatment related with the disease is to stop the skin cells from growing so rapidly as the treatment of psoriasis is still based on controlling the symptoms.
The signs and symptoms of psoriasis can vary depending on the type of psoriasis you have. The 9 most common symptoms of psoriasis include:
1. Scaling of the skin
2. Itchy, painful skin that can crack or bleed
7. Problems with your fingernails and toenails, including discoloration and pitting.
8. Rashes or patches of red
9. Scaly plaques on the scalp
Psoriasis can also be associated with psoriatic arthritis, which causes achy, swollen joints.
Between 10% and 30% of people with psoriasis also have this painful joint condition.
Types of Psoriasis
There are various types of psoriasis. Some of them are herewith mentioned below -
- psoriatic arthritis
Plaque psoriasis, or psoriasis vulgaris, is the most common form of psoriasis. An estimated 80 percent Trusted Source of people with psoriasis have plaque psoriasis. It’s characterized by thick red patches of skin, often with a silver or white scaly layer.
These patches often appear on the:
- lower back
Patches are usually 1 to 10 centimeters wide, but can also be larger and cover more of the body. If you scratch at the scales, the symptoms will often get worse.
Guttate psoriasis appears in small red spots on the skin. It’s the second most common type, affecting 10 percent of people with psoriasis. Most of the time it starts during childhood or young adulthood.
The spots are small, separate, and drop-shaped. They often appear on the torso and limbs, but they can also appear on your face and scalp. Spots are usually not as thick as plaque psoriasis, but they can develop into plaque psoriasis over time. Guttate psoriasis happens after certain triggers. These triggers include:
- strep throat
- skin injury
Flexural or inverse psoriasis
Flexural or inverse psoriasis often appears in skinfolds, such as under the breasts or in the armpits or groin area. This type of psoriasis is red and often shiny and smooth.
The sweat and moisture from skinfolds keeps this form of psoriasis from shedding skin scales.
Sometimes it’s misdiagnosed as a fungal or bacterial infection. The skin-on-skin contact can make inverse psoriasis very uncomfortable. Most people with inverse psoriasis also have a different form of psoriasis in other places on the body.
Pustular psoriasis is a severe form of psoriasis. It develops fast in the form of many white pustules surrounded by red skin. Pustular psoriasis may affect isolated areas of the body, like the hands and feet, or cover most of the skin’s surface. These pustules can also join together and form scaling.
Some people experience cyclic periods of pustules and remission. While the pus is noninfectious, this condition can cause flu-like symptoms such as:
- rapid pulse
- muscle weakness
- loss of appetite
There are three kinds of pustular psoriasis
- von Zumbusch
- palmoplantar pustulosis (PPP)
Each of the three forms of pustular psoriasis can have different symptoms and severity.
Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a painful and physically limiting condition that affects between 10 and 30 percent of people with psoriasis. There are five types of PsA with varying symptoms. There is also no cure for this type of psoriasis. Because psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, it can trigger the body to attack the joints and the skin. It can affect many joints and often becomes quite severe in the hands. Skin symptoms usually appear before joint symptoms.
Erythrodermic psoriasis, or exfoliative psoriasis, is a rare psoriasis type that looks like severe burns. The condition is serious, and can be a medical emergency. You may need hospitalization because your body may not be able to control body temperature.
This form of psoriasis is widespread, red, and scaly. It may cover large portions of the body.
Exfoliation often occurs in larger pieces than the small scales typical to most psoriasis.
Erythrodermic psoriasis can develop from:
- pustular psoriasis
- widespread, poorly controlled plaque psoriasis
- a bad sunburn
- significant stress
- abrupt discontinuation of a systemic psoriasis medicine
Although not an official type of psoriasis, nail psoriasis is a manifestation of psoriasis. The condition can often be confused with fungal infections and other infections of the nail.
Nail psoriasis can cause:
- nail pitting
- loosening or crumbling of the nail
- thickened skin under the nail
- colored patches or spots under the nail
Sometimes the nail can even crumble and fall off. There is no cure for psoriatic nails, but some treatments may improve the health and appearance of nails.
Scalp psoriasis is common in people with plaque psoriasis. For some people, it may cause severe dandruff. For others, it can be painful, itchy, and very noticeable at the hairline. Scalp psoriasis can extend to the neck, face, and ears in one large patch or many smaller patches.
In some cases, scalp psoriasis can complicate regular hair hygiene. Excessive scratching can cause hair loss and scalp infections. The condition may also cause feelings of social stress.
Psoriasis treatments reduce inflammation and clear the skin. Treatments can be divided into three main types: topical treatments, light therapy and systemic medications.
Salicylic acid . Some doctors recommend salicylic acid ointment, which smoothes the skin by promoting the shedding of psoriatic scales. Using salicylic acid over large areas of skin, however, may cause the body to absorb too much of the medication, leading to side effects.
Steroid-based creams. - steroid based creams decrease inflammation, relieving itching, and block production of cells that are overproduced in psoriasis. Due to its stronger preparation causes side effects that include burning, dryness, irritation and thinning of the skin.
Phototherapy for psoriasis Many doctors recommend light therapy, one of the most effective treatments. however this form of therapy is used far less often today, because it has been shown to increase the risk of developing skin cancer.
Ayurvedic Treatments for Psoriasis
Alternative therapies are deemed generally safe, and they may be helpful to some people in reducing signs and symptoms, such as itching and scaling. if other medications fail to relieve the symptoms of psoriasis or cause unwanted side effects, people may try natural remedies for relief.
If you are considering natural remedies for psoriasis here is what you should know about some of herbs that clinically tried and tested for the symptoms of Psoriasis that other medical disciplines have also used to treat psoriasis such as Wrightia tinctoria, Azadirachta indica and the root extract of Hemidesmus indicus. One of the product that soothe the symptoms of psoriasis is SISAIROSP research, clinically tried & tested product in technical collaboration with JNTBGRI (Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute).
DO'S & DONT'S of PSORIASIS
Although there is no definite cure for any form of psoriasis, remission and significant healing is possible. On your part, you can take some general steps to manage psoriasis. These can include:
• practicing relaxation techniques to reduce stress
• moisturizing dry skin • quitting smoking • avoiding products that irritate your skin • wearing comfortable clothing that doesn't rub the psoriasis • eating a healthy diet
For more specific details, kindly read the points mentioned below:
1. Do moisturize. Dry skin is more susceptible to outbreaks of psoriasis, so keep your skin well lubricated.
When the skin is hydrated, the scales soften and fall away, alleviating itch and dryness.
2. Do take a soak. Soaking in a warm (not hot) bath for 15 minutes can help loosen scales and reduce the itching and inflammation caused by psoriasis.
3. Do get some sun. For reasons experts still don't fully understand, psoriasis lesions often diminish when exposed to ultraviolet light. The trick is to make sure that only the areas affected by psoriasis are exposed.
4. Do reach out. Having psoriasis isn't just physically tough; it can be difficult emotionally as well. Feelings of depression, frustration, and isolation are common. While it may feel as if you're the only person struggling with this condition, in fact the World Health Organization reports that at least 100 million people are affected worldwide.
1. Don't overdo it. The best way to handle psoriasis is to do so gently. Avoid the temptation to
scrub lesions, which will only irritate them, making them worse.
2. Don't stress out. Some people with psoriasis say their condition worsens when they're under stress. Avoid stressful situations when you can and take extra steps to take care of yourself.
3. Don't ignore flare-ups. Psoriasis is a lifelong condition and one that tends to wax and wane over time. But that doesn't mean you just have to live with it. If the psoriasis returns after a period of being under control, schedule a visit with your doctor to find out why and to decide what can be done to treat it.
4. Don't give up. Be patient and don't give up. For even psoriasis, slow and steady wins the race.