Psoriasis is a chronic skin disorder that causes red, scaly patches on the skin. Learn more about what it is, why it appears, and how it is treated.
What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a chronic skin disorder caused due to an overactive immune system that promotes abnormal growth of skin cells in the body. It commonly affects the elbows, knees, scalp and the back. In some cases it results in extreme inflammation and itching.
According to a study carried out by the World Psoriasis Day Consortium, 125 million people all over the world (2-3 percent of the world’s population) are affected by psoriasis. Though the exact reason for the occurrence aren’t completely understood till now, one can keep in control the symptoms of psoriasis by making some lifestyle adjustments
The inflammatory skin condition produces tangible thick scaly lesions on skin predominantly on the scalp, legs, elbows and back. On affecting the scalp, psoriasis mimics the common dandruff and hence application of normal anti-dandruff shampoo may not work success.
Though the condition is curable, the distressing fact is, most often psoriasis is perceived with fear by many. One such common fear is that, the disorder is contagious and cannot be cured. However the reality is contrast. Stigmas like this are false and it veritably propels the sufferer to self-isolate or hide the patches which then worsen the condition. Also the trauma inflicted due to this fear of social isolation will further add to lots of stress which then result to be one of the triggering factors of the disease.
As mentioned earlier, though the exact cause of Psoriasis is not yet completely understood, medical researchers theorize that some reasons leading to the cause are:
-Exposure to various medications (painkillers/NSAIDS, Beta blocker – a BP lowering medicine),
-Infections like streptococcal sore throat
A lot of medical conditions are related to Psoriasis. Some of such conditions are:
- Psoriasis was earlier thought to be a pure skin disease due to the reason that, the genes which determine the occurrence of psoriasis is on the same chromosome as the genes for diabetes & high cholesterol.
- Recent studies from medical researchers proclaim that the inflammatory markers responsible for the skin lesions are similar to the ones involved in the atherosclerotic plaques in blood vessels of heart. Therefore people associated with psoriasis for a long duration of time are at an increased risk to Atherosclerosis and heart related diseases.
- The prevalence of Fatty liver high is high in patients affected with psoriasis.
- Painful joint inflammation leading to Psoriasis arthritis is also associated with people prone to Psoriasis. The involvement of finger joints and their deformity can have a serious effect on a person’s quality of life.
Psoriasis can be treated effectively with right medical advice. There are well-defined treatment options for psoriasis ranging from creams & ointments to phototherapy, tablets and injections.
Along with the treatment options, one must also make certain to follow some lifestyle changes like reducing stress, practicing good hygiene, eating healthy diet and avoiding excessive consumption of alcohol. Once the person is relieved of symptoms, treatment should be tapered or continued as maintenance with adequate follow-ups.
Consultant & HOD
VPS Lakeshore Hospital
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