Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition that causes skin cells to multiply upto 10 times faster than normal. This makes the skin build up into bumpy red patches covered with scales. They can grow anywhere , but most appear on the scalp , elbow , knees and lower back.
Inflammation and redness around the scales is fairly common. Typical psoriatic scales are are whitish silver and develop in thick ,red patches Sometimes these patches will crack and bleed.
Physiology of psoriasis –
Psoriasis is the result of a speed-up skin production process. Typically, skin cells grow deep in the skin and slowly rise to the surface , eventually fall off. The typical lifecycle of a skin cell is one month. In people with psoriasis, this production may occur in just a few days, because of this, skin cells don’t have time to fall off. This rapid overproduction leads to the buildup of skin cells.
1) Plaque Psoriasis –
It is the most common type of psoriasis . About 80% of people comes under this type of psoriasis.
It causes red , inflamed patches that covers areas of skin. These patches are often covered with whitish silver scales or plaques. These plaques are commonly found on the elbows , knees and scalp.
2) Guttate Psoriasis –
It is common in childhood. This type of psoriasis causes small pink spots. The most common type include the torso ,arms and legs. These spots are rarely and raised.
3) Pustular Psoriasis –
It is more common in adults. It causes white , pus filled blisters with broad areas of red , inflammed skin. It can be widespread ,not localised to specific area.
4) Inverse Psoriasis –
It causes bright areas of red , shinny, inflammed skin. It develops under armpits or breasts , in the groin , or around skinfolds in the genitals.
5) Erythrodermic Psoriasis –
It is very severe and rare type. This type often covers large sections of body at once. The skin almost looks like sunburned. Scales slough off in large sections or sheets.
Symptoms in psoriasis depends upon the type of psoriasis patient is being suffering. Common symptoms of plaque psoriasis are –
1) Red, raised , inflammed patches of the skin.
2) Whitish – silver scales or plaques on the red patches.
3) Dry skin that may crack and bleed.
4) Soreness around patches.
5) Itching and burning sensation around patches.
6) Thick pitted nails.
7) Painful , swollen joints.
Exact cause of psoriasis is still unclear, but we have a general idea of two key factors –
1) Immune System –
As psoriasis is an autoimmune condition and autoimmune conditions are the result of body attacking itself. Here ,white blood cells known as T- cells mistakenly attack the skin cells.
In normal conditions , white blood cells are deployed to attack and destroy invading bacteria and fight infections. This mistaken attack causes the skin cell production process to go into overdrive. The sped- up skin cell production causes new skin cells to develop quickly. They are pushed to the skin surface , where they pile up. This results in Plaque formation.
2) Genetics –
Some people inherit genes that makes them psoriatic. However ,the percentage of people who have psoriasis and a genetic predisposition probability is approximately 2-3%.
The most common triggers for psoriasis are :-
5) Medications like antimalarial ,high BP medications.
1) Physical Examination.
2) Biopsy is needed when symptoms are not clear.
Myths and facts –
1) Topical Treatment –
Topical corticosteroids , topical retinoids ,anthralin ,vitamin D analogues , salicylic acid , moisturizer are most commonly used.
2) Systemic Medications –
Those patients who haven’t responded to other treatment type ,are given these medications ,but for short period of time because of their side effects. These medications are – Methotrexate , Cyclosporine ,Biologics and Retinoids.
3) Light Therapy –
This treatment uses ultraviolet(UV) light. Sunlight kills the overactive WBCs that are attacking healthy skin cells and causing the rapid cell growth. Both UVA and UVB light may be helpful in psoriasis.
Ayurvedic Perspective –
Ayurveda believes that impurities in the blood associated with emotional factors are the cause of disease. Psoriasis can be correlated with Ekakushtha.It is believed to occur due to vitiation of all three Doshas i.e. vata, pitta, kapha in varying degree, but predominantly vata & kapha.
Treatment Plan –
1) Shodhana chikitsa (detoxification) done through panchkarma therapies like Vamana ,Virechana , Raktamokshana etc. and an exclusive therapy called Takra Dhara.
2) Shaman chikitsa through internal medicine like kaishore guggul , Aarogyavardhini vati ,Panchtikta Ghrit ,Nimba churna etc. and external application like Nimba oil ,Jatyadi oil ,olive oil etc.
3) Rasayan chikitsa with mulethi churna .
4) Strict diet regime – avoid fried ,spicy ,processed foods.
5) Lifestyle changes .
6) Stress management like doing yoga and meditation .
Home Remedies –
1) Apply fresh cabbage leaves over the affected area of skin. It is most effective home remedy.
2) Drink half cup of fresh cabbage juice daily.
3) Olive oil can be applied topically.
4) Taking lukewarm bath using milk or olive oil give relief from itching.
Life with psoriasis can be challenging , but with the right approach, you can reduce flare ups and live a healthy, fulfilling life.
For more informative articles on health issues, please visit our website www.santripty.com and also feel free to consult.