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A non-contagious disease that is often misunderstood

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Contributed by: Priyaish Srivastava

introduction

These bumpy red spots, covered in white scales that appear on the scalp, elbows, knees, and lower back, may be not just a common skin infection, but a chronic autoimmune disease known as “psoriasis”.

Psoriasis develops when skin cells multiply about 10 times faster than normal. The disease is considered incurable and the main cause of this condition is inflammation, which is the body’s defense mechanism against external attacks from bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Psoriasis causes excessive inflammation, which leads to a progressive form of spots and flakes on the skin.

The condition affects men twice more than women, especially those between 30 and 40 years old. In most cases, the disease usually affects only a few areas, but as the disease progresses it can affect almost any part of the body. These patches can come and go throughout the life of the infected person. Because of the social stigma associated with this disease, those infected are at greater risk of developing isolation and depression.

The presence and prevalence of this disease are worldwide and in order to raise awareness of the disease, October 29th will be called ‘World Psoriasis Day“Every year by the International Federation of Psoriatic Disease Associations (IFPA). The global theme for this year is’You are not alone‘.

This year we hope to use World Psoriasis Day to raise awareness about this non-contagious disease, to help you better understand the disease and to destigmatize it. This article will focus on psoriasis types, causes, symptoms, risk factors and how best to treat the condition as there is currently no cure.

Types of psoriasis

You can’t successfully treat psoriasis if you don’t know exactly what it is. Here are some of the most common types of psoriasis:

Plaque psoriasis

It is the most common form of psoriasis that leads to the appearance of red and sore spots on the skin of the elbows, knees, and scalp. These spots are covered in plaques or white silver scales that cause itching and pain.

Guttate psoriasis

Guttate psoriasis is a condition that usually occurs in childhood and results in small pink spots mainly on the trunk, arms, and legs. The appearance of these spots is similar to that of plaque psoriasis, giving the appearance of small, red, and scaly spots that resemble the shape of a tear.

Pustular psoriasis

Pustular psoriasis primarily affects adults and results in white, pus-filled blisters and also causes redness and inflammation in certain areas of the body such as the hands and feet. However, it can spread to other parts of the body as the condition worsens.

Inverse psoriasis

The spots in this condition most commonly develop under the armpits or breasts, in the groin, or around the skin of the genitals. The condition damages the skin by repeatedly causing redness and inflammation. Generally, this type of psoriasis occurs in combination with plaque psoriasis, which can be present in other parts of the body. In contrast to plaque psoriasis, which presents itself as large patches, inverse psoriasis patches are comparatively smaller.

Erythrodermic psoriasis

The development of this condition is rare but severe. The disease covers a large part of the body so it looks like the skin is sunburned and the scales that develop are often falling off in large sections. This type of psoriasis shouldn’t be left untreated or ignored as it can become life threatening.

Psoriatic arthritis

This psoriasis subtype is a combination of psoriasis and arthritis. Although the two conditions are independent, studies have found that 30 to 40% of psoriasis patients who have progressive skin disease will develop psoriatic arthritis. Because of the unpredictability of psoriatic arthritis, doctors recommend that people with psoriasis opt for regular arthritis checkups.

Causes of Psoriasis

Although the exact cause of psoriasis is still unknown, experts suggest that the condition usually occurs when the immune system causes inflammation and speeds up the process of skin cell formation by 10 times. Usually, skin cells are replaced every 10 to 30 days, but in people with psoriasis the cells grow every 3 to 4 days. This unnaturally fast process leads to the development of silver scales and thus to the onset of psoriasis.

Psoriasis can be hereditary, but it can skip generations. In other words, a grandmother and granddaughter can develop the disease, but the father / mother may not, as the disease marker could skip the generation in the middle.

Psoriasis can be triggered by:

    • Antimalarials (hydroxicholroquine)
    • Medicines for blood pressure
    • Infections (cuts, injuries, and post-operative infections)
    • Streptococcal Infections

Symptoms of psoriasis

The manifestation of symptoms of psoriasis can vary from person to person depending on the type of condition. Its appearance can be small and show up on the scalp, arms and elbows, knees, and lower back as it progresses over time to the rest of the body.

Some of the most common psoriasis symptoms to look out for include:

    • Sore and swollen joints
    • Raised and inflamed spots on the skin that appear red in people with light skin and brown or purple in people with dark skin
    • Plaques or white silver scales on the red spots or gray scales on the purple or brown spots
    • Thick nails
    • Dry skin which may cause bleeding or cracking
    • Pain around the spots
    • Itching and burning around the patches

Psoriasis risk factors

Psoriasis has a huge impact on the health of people who already have underlying medical conditions, such as:

If a person does not have any of these conditions but has developed psoriasis, the likelihood of developing these chronic conditions increases.

What is the best way to treat psoriasis?

Some measures to treat psoriasis include:

    • Regular diagnostic checks or a biopsy
    • Application of ointments as prescribed by a doctor
    • Control and manage stress
    • Avoid alcohol
    • Do not leave any injury untreated
    • Follow the medication regimen prescribed by the doctor
    • Increasing the absorption of vitamin D.
    • Lose extra pounds
    • Eating healthier foods
    • Avoid foods that can trigger the condition (red meat, refined sugars, processed foods, and dairy products)

Note: It’s a common misconception that psoriasis is contagious, which is wrong. The condition is not contagious and cannot be passed from an infected person to someone who is not in physical contact.

Final thoughts

Psoriasis is a chronic condition that can affect anyone. To treat this disease, a person should see a doctor right away if the above symptoms appear. Medical assistance is important in psoriasis management because applying ointments or taking medication without a prescription can make the condition worse and cause significant side effects as well.

Get tested for inflammation today!

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Thank You For Reading!

Reference: blog.healthians.com

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