Archive for May, 2012
Psoriasis is a non-contagious skin disorder attributed to a faulty immune system response. People with psoriasis have swollen, flaky bumps on their bodies, usually on the knees and elbows. This is due to certain lymphocytes in the immune system called T cells trigger the rapid proliferation of skin cells in response to an abnormal signal—it mistakes the skin cells for invader cells. The swelling and flaking are due to the body’s failure to catch up with the quick reproduction of skin cells and to shed off these excess cells just in time.
The manifestations of psoriasis depend on the type of psoriasis a person has. However, there are still some common points among them. Common psoriasis symptoms include characteristic red patches covered in silvery white scales, which are shed off with ease on a regular basis. These patches also produce severe itchiness which is a constant source of discomfort. As was previously mentioned, it is manifested in the joints although it can also appear in other parts of the body like the palms of the hand, the soles of the feet, and the lower back.
For those with psoriatic arthritis, the first indications are seen in the nails. Abnormalities such as crumbling nails, accumulation of dead skin cells under the nails, and appearance of a yellowish discoloration are all signals that the psoriasis has spread in the joints. If not addressed immediately, this type of psoriasis can impair your joints and cause you debilitating pain even when you are just going about with your daily routine.
As for the other types of psoriasis: there is plaque psoriasis with fissures, which is characterized by splits on the surface of the red patches and are more prone to bleeding; guttate psoriasis, a condition induced by a streptococcal (bacterial) infection and is characterized by red drop-like appearances on the skin; pustular psoriasis, in which the red patches are filled with pus and the lesions appear to be whitish; and lastly, palmoplantar pustural psoriasis, which is a subtype of pustular psoriasis that appears on the palms and on the soles.
These different types of psoriasis are also induced by different combinations of factors. Although one’s genetic inheritance is largely responsible for the development of this skin disease, one’s environment also plays an important role. Physical and emotional stressors, contraction of a bacterial infection, as well as abuse of substances like alcohol and nicotine, can all possibly trigger the disease.
One psoriasis treatment that is commonly used is topical medication. It comes in the form of ointments, creams, or moisturizes. They are directly applied on the skins to soothe the itching and burning feeling and to reduce the incidence of scaling. Another psoriasis treatment that is employed is the injection of medication. This is used when the topical medications fail to work on the person.
For those who are allergic to treatments, an alternative approach is used. People with psoriasis are advised to lessen their exposure to triggers of the disease such harmful vices and environmental stressors.
For those who can’t bear to live any longer with the hassles that come with psoriasis, but cannot afford to avail any of those expensive treatments just yet, you don’t have to worry anymore because you can now whip up your own home remedies. Here are some instructions on how to make your own treatment kits:
Psoriasis home remedies recommendation no. 1: For those who have psoriasis on the scalp, a lotion made of marigold (calendula) is highly recommended for everyday use. You can do this by boiling four pieces of marigold along with four cups of water for about two minutes or so. Let the solution cool down first before applying it on the affected area. Massage it onto your scalp and let it sit for a few minutes. Rinse the homemade solution out using a mild shampoo. You can mix some lemon extracts or cider vinegar to the shampoo before using it to rinse out the marigold solution.
Psoriasis home remedies recommendation no. 2: For those who have psoriasis on other parts of the body, you can make use of marigold once again. Just dip a clean cotton ball into the extract and apply it on the affected parts. You can also use witch hazel as an alternative. If you want to come up with another solution, you can also try this: mix a teaspoon of each castor oil, wheat germ oil, and sunflower oil. Apply using your hands or using a swab of cotton.
Psoriasis home remedies recommendation no. 3: Aloe Vera is touted as one of the best natural treatments to psoriasis. In one study, it was found that 83% of those with psoriasis who applied aloe vera cream on a regular basis (thrice a day for for four week) have seen a significant improvement in their condition. Pure aloe vera works better than processed aloe vera creams though, because the latter already contains other ingredients which could hinder the effectiveness of the gel alone.
Although it has already been proven through years of use that these homemade solutions are effective in varying degrees, some other measures are needed to be practiced in conjunction with the aforementioned solutions. Living a clean and healthy lifestyle is a must. Increase the consumption of vegetables, along with fish oils and flax seed oils (which are notable for their omega-3 fatty acid content). Avoid engaging in vices such as smoking and drinking liquor as these increase the risk of developing psoriasis.
Take a bath every day. Use lukewarm water instead of hot water, along with very mild soap. After taking a bath, apply some oil or moisturizer in the affected areas. Application of such treatments should also be done before going to sleep at night. Don’t forget to wrap the moisturized area with a non-absorbent material to keep the solution from seeping in your bed.
Most importantly, stop stressing yourself too much. You might not be aware of it but stress can actually aggravate your medical condition. Avoid stress-inducing elements as much as you can and get enough rest to keep you from feeling too exhausted, both physically and emotionally.
Psoriasis is a skin condition characterized by the appearance of lesions in certain body parts. Although it is not contagious—it has already been determined by medical research that psoriasis is mainly genetic—it can still have a lot of adverse effects in one’s life.
People with psoriasis have to live with a very uncomfortable condition. The lesions in their body can produce severe itching and burning, which can be quite disruptive especially if you have more important things to attend do. The temptation to scratch those bumps in your skin can distract you from your task. And when you scratch those lesions, chances are, it will to bleeding and unwanted scarring.
Psoriasis can also have a deep psychological impact. Most people mistake psoriasis as a contagious disease and this misconception leads them to shun those who are affected by the illness. Also, the appearance of lesions can make people with psoriasis overly self-conscious, which consequently leads to feelings of shame and embarrassment. As a result, they refrain from making intimate contact with other people. These negative self-perceptions coupled with the lack of decent social interactions can even lead to something more serious, like clinical depression. As such, it can’t be denied that psoriasis treatments must be administered to those who are affected the soonest time possible.
Psoriasis treatments can come in many forms. There are medical solutions, some of which can be administered topically like creams, oils, and moisturizers. These are applied directly on the affected area to reduce the swelling and scaling. However, when topical treatments are rendered ineffective, systemic agents are used as an alternative. Systemic agents are supplied internally, either by taking a pill or by directly injecting the solution in the affected area. It should be noted though that a consultation with a dermatologist should be done prior to using any of these medical treatments to avoid further complications.
Another type of psoriasis treatment is phototherapy. It is done by channeling sunlight through special lamps in an aim to stop the excessive proliferation of skin cells. The amount of sunlight used in this treatment is determined by the patient’s skin type. A modified version of this treatment called “psoralen and ultraviolet A phototherapy” (or PUVA) is also used, although this method is often associated with side effects like nausea and fatigue. Long-term use of this treatment can even increase the risk of developing cancer.
Meanwhile, in some cases, changes in one’s lifestyle are recommended as an alternative form of treatment. Avoiding bad habits such as smoking and drinking are highly advised. Modifications in the diet are sometimes also necessitated. This involves the increase in the consumption of vegetables along with fish oil, which is rich with essential nutrients.
Avoiding life’s stressors is also crucial. Take a break from work once in a while and be careful not to overexert yourself. You can engage in calming routines during your spare time to free your mind of worries. Also, try to get enough sleep so that you won’t end up feeling irritable and already worn out in the morning.
Psoriasis is a skin condition that is characterized by prominent scaly bumps on the skin. Usually, these bumps appear red or silvery white in color, depending on the type of psoriasis. It is a skin disease most common among adult Caucasians, although people of any race and age can acquire it; and more than its irritating physical effects, its impact is seemingly more severe on the psychological aspect.
When psoriasis strikes, feeling of intense itching and burning are produced, making the person lose his or her concentration on more important matters at hand (i.e. work, school). Sometimes, it can even cause sleep deprivation. But more than that, psoriasis can affect the self-esteem the most: people with psoriasis are often uncomfortable with how they present themselves to other people and can thus lead to feelings of shame and self-consciousness. In some cases, psoriasis can even lead to depression.
But what causes psoriasis? Psoriasis is said to be triggered by both biological and environmental factors. For the biological component, it is believed that psoriasis has something to do with an abnormality in the immune system’s function. This skin disease is triggered when the immune system—which primarily functions to fight off foreign bodies and infection—mistakes the skin cells for antibodies. In turn, it triggers the release of T cells to ward off the skin cells. As a defense mechanism, this T cells causes the skin to flare up, which are manifested as lesions in the dermis. Also, this mechanism speeds up the production of skin cells. Since the body cannot shed off these excess cells just in time, they accumulate to form scale-like patches.
As for the environmental component, it varies on a case-to-case basis. This means that there is no one factor that is responsible for the activation of the psoriatic gene. Vices such as drinking alcohol and smoking are often linked to the development of psoriasis. Exposure of the skin to harmful elements like the sun’s rays can also trigger the disease. Even skin injuries can induce the inflammation. And since psoriasis is a long-term condition, these factors can also determine the length and the severity of the flare-ups.
Although it has already been agreed upon by medical researchers that psoriasis is an inherited disease and the genes are largely responsible for its development, it is not yet clear to them what genes in particular are included in the process and how do these genes work together. However, the researchers have already determined which parts of the immune system are involved in the disease: the aforementioned T cells and the major histocompatibility complex (also known as MHC).
Most psoriasis treatments available to those who are living with this condition only serve to alleviate its effects, not to completely heal it. Psoriasis treatments are done via a combination of medical solutions and changing one’s way of living. Medical treatments are usually in the form of topical solutions and pills. On the other hand, lifestyle changes involve doing away with elements that cause psoriasis, such as smoking and drinking alcohol.