Treating Psoriasis

Treating Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a global condition that affects many with stress being a triggering factor. It is an autoimmune disease that accelerates the production of keratinocyte cells which build-up in the corneum layer causing a scaling surface on the skin. This disease causes the skin to become red and inflamed with itchy, scaly patches. Psoriasis is mainly found on the scalp, knees, elbows and trunk of the body.

Historically the disease has been treated with UV light therapy. Patients have reported that UV light therapy seems to provide some relief and success. Another treatment being used to target psoriasis is a combination of LED with 10% salicylic acid twice weekly. The LED reduces the erythema and the salicylic reduces the scale. It is essential with any treatment that the skin is kept well hydrated. When treating a patient with psoriasis, it is important to assess the patient’s gut health and their stress levels as psoriasis is triggered by both of these symptoms. By improving gut health, reducing stress and including a combination of LED with 10% salicylic acid, patients will experience more success with the management of their psoriasis.

Common symptoms of Plaque Psoriasis include:

  • raised, inflamed patches of skin which appear red on light skin and brown or purple on dark skin
  • whitish-silver scales or plaques on the red patches or gray scales on purple and brown patches
  • dry skin that may crack and bleed
  • soreness around patches
  • itching and burning sensations around patches
  • thick, pitted nails
  • painful, swollen joints.

Please be aware that not every person will experience all of these symptoms. Some people will experience entirely different symptoms if they have a less common type of psoriasis.
There are several types of psoriasis which all have different triggers and need to be treated differently.

  • Plaque psoriasis. The most common form, plaque psoriasis causes dry, raised, red skin patches (lesions) covered with silvery scales. The plaques might be itchy or tender, and there may be few or many. They usually appear on elbows, knees, lower back and scalp.

  • Nail psoriasis. Psoriasis can affect fingernails and toenails, causing pitting, abnormal nail growth and discoloration. Psoriatic nails might loosen and separate from the nail bed (onycholysis). Severe cases may cause the nail to crumble.

  • Guttate psoriasis. This type primarily affects young adults and children. It’s usually triggered by a bacterial infection such as strep throat. It’s marked by small, drop-shaped, scaling lesions on the trunk, arms or legs.

  • Inverse psoriasis. This mainly affects the skin folds of the groin, buttocks and breasts. Inverse psoriasis causes smooth patches of red skin that worsen with friction and sweating. Fungal infections may trigger this type of psoriasis.

  • Pustular psoriasis. This rare form of psoriasis causes clearly defined pus-filled lesions that occur in widespread patches (generalized pustular psoriasis) or in smaller areas on the palms of the hands or the soles of the feet.

  • Erythrodermic psoriasis. The least common type of psoriasis, erythrodermic psoriasis can cover your entire body with a red, peeling rash that can itch or burn intensely.

  • Psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis causes swollen, painful joints that are typical of arthritis. Sometimes the joint symptoms are the first or only symptom or sign of psoriasis. And at times only nail changes are seen. Symptoms range from mild to severe, and psoriatic arthritis can affect any joint. It can cause stiffness and progressive joint damage that in the most serious cases may lead to permanent joint damage.

It is important to note that there is no cure for psoriasis and treatment recommendations would involve both internal and external remedies. Most people who suffer with psoriasis will go through cycles of symptoms. The condition may cause severe symptoms for a few days or weeks, and then clear up and be almost unnoticeable, sometimes disappearing completely. Then whatever the trigger is, however small that might be, the condition can flare up again. Psoriasis is a condition that a person will live with therefore it is important to manage this condition by having regular treatments in order to prevent this condition from worsening over time.

Yours in skin,

Gay Wardle

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