Psoriasis is a non contagious skin condition that causes rapid skin cell reproduction resulting in red, dry patches of thickened skin. The common areas affected by psoriasis are the skin of the elbows, knees, and scalp. Psoriasis is seen worldwide, in all races, and both sexes. Psoriasis can be seen in people of any age, from babies to Adults, most commonly patients are first diagnosed in their early adult years.
Patients with more severe psoriasis may have social embarrassment, job stress, emotional distress, and other personal issues because of the appearance of their skin.
Commonly affected areas are on the elbows, knees, scalp, lower back, palms, and soles of the feet. However, no area of the skin is exempt, including the genital area. The disease may also affect the fingernails and toenails, and the soft tissues inside the mouth. Almost 20-25 percent of people with psoriasis have joint involvement and inflammation that produces arthritis symptoms. This condition is called psoriatic arthritis.
CAUSES OF PSORIASIS
Our immune system when functioning normally is designed in such a way that the white blood cells produce antibodies to fight foreign invaders like viruses and bacteria. The white blood cells also produce chemicals which help in healing and fighting infective agents. In Psoriasis and other auto immune disorders these White blood cells cause the body to fight with normal tissues and cells of the skin and occasionally the joints. These WBC sometimes also produce abnormal amount of healing chemical which causes more inflammation in the skin and joints.
Scientists and researchers have found 4 important genes that are involved in Psoriasis. The regulation of Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) is the function of these genes. The HLA molecules are designated with the process of presenting the foreign substances to the immune system so they can be destroyed. However in psoriasis this process is malfunctioning. Patients having a specific HLA genetic factor called HLA-CW6 have a tendency to develop psoriasis at early age. But research shows only 10-15% people harboring these genes develop Psoriasis. Hence there are other factors required to trigger psoriasis,one of them is prolonged Stress.
Another strong factor in Psoriasis is weather. Generally cold, dry weather starts psoriasis flare-up and the symptoms are in aggravated form during this time. Though during hot, sunny or damp weather the symptoms decrease.
Stress, suppressed anger and emotional problems like anxiety and depression are strongly associated with psoriasis flare ups and can be triggers as well. Studies have shown a wide range of stress factor encountered by patients during or before a psoriasis flare up. Another study showed that stress can trigger certain immune factors associated with psoriasis.
Certain bacteria and viruses can cause Psoriasis flare ups. A type of Psoriasis known as Guttate psoriasis can be triggered by the bacteria called streptococcus which is known for causing infections such as tonsillitis, sinusitis. HIV is also associated with psoriasis.
Skin Injury Triggers
Occasionally mild injuries to the skin such as abrasions or cuts may trigger a psoriasis flare, which is called as the koebner phenomenon, and may be the reason that psoriasis tends to frequently affect the elbows and knees.
The following drugs are known to either worsen psoriasis or induce a flare-up
- ACE inhibitors such as monopril or captopril
- Beta blockers such as lopressor or atenolol
SYMPTOMS OF PSORIASIS
Some common Symptoms & Signs are:
- Skin patches
- Dry or red
- Usually covered with silvery, shiny scales
- Raised patches of skin
- Accompanied by red borders
- May crack and become painful, occasional bleeding
- Usually discrete, demarcated patches
- Usually located on the elbows, knees, trunk, scalp, hands or nails
- Skin lesions, including pustules, cracking of skin, skin redness or inflammation
- Itching generally more during winters or cold weather
- Small scaling dots on the skin (especially in children)
- Joint pain or aching, which may be associated with a special type of arthritis (psoriatic arthritis)
Additional symptoms that may be associated with this disease
- Nail abnormalities, or psoriatic nails
- Genital lesions in males
- Eye burning, itching, and discharge
TYPES OF PSORIASIS
Plaque psoriasis is the most common form of psoriasis. It is characterized by raised, inflamed (red) lesions covered with a silvery, shiny white scale. The scale is actually an accumulation of dead skin cells. The technical name for plaque psoriasis is Psoriasis Vulgaris (vulgaris implies common). Plaque psoriasis can appear on any skin surface, though the knees, elbows, scalp, and trunk are the most common locations.
Sometimes the patches of infected skin are large, extending over much of the body. The patches, known as plaques or lesions, can wax and wane but are chronic. These can be very itchy and if scratched or scraped they may bleed easily. The itching can be worse during winters or cold weather.The plaques have a well-defined edge and, while they can appear anywhere on the body, the most commonly affected areas are the scalp, knees and elbows.
This generally affects people younger than 25-30 years of age and is usually triggered by a bacterial infection such as strep throat. Features are small, water drop-shaped sores on the trunk, arms, legs and scalp. The sores are covered by a fine scale and aren't as thick as plaque sores are. There may be a single outbreak that goes away on its own, or there may be repeated episodes, especially if there is an ongoing respiratory infection.
pustular psoriasis is a rare form of psoriasis which can occur in bigger patches (generalized pustular psoriasis) or in smaller areas on the hands, feet or fingertips though it can cover any part of the body. It generally develops quickly, with pus-filled blisters appearing just hours after the skin becomes red and tender. The blisters dry within a day or two but may reappear every few days or weeks. Pustular psoriasis can also cause fever, chills, severe itching, weight loss and fatigue.
The lesions in this type are concentrated mainly on the skin in the armpits, groin, under the breasts and around the genitals, inverse psoriasis causes smooth patches of red, inflamed skin. It is more common in overweight people and is aggravated by friction and sweating.
This is the least common type of psoriasis, this can cover the entire body with a red, peeling rash that may itch or burn intensely. Eythrodermic psoriasis may be triggered by severe sunburn, by corticosteroids and other medications, or by another type of psoriasis that's poorly managed and controlled.
Psoriasis in finger & toe nails (Psoriatic nails )
Along with the common symptoms of inflamed, scaly, shiny skin, psoriatic arthritis causes pitted, discolored nails and the swollen, painful joints that are typical of arthritis. It can also lead to inflammatory eye conditions such as conjunctivitis. Although the disease usually isn't as crippling as other forms of arthritis, it may cause stiffness and progressive joint damage and in the most serious cases may lead to permanent deformity. Adults in their 30s, 40s and 50s are most often affected, but children also can develop a form of the disease.
Nearly 60 % of people with psoriasis have psoriatic changes in fingernails and/or toenails. In rare instances psoriasis may only occur in the nails and nowhere else on the body. Psoriatic changes in nails range from mild to severe, generally reflecting the extent of psoriatic involvement of the nail plate, nail matrix (tissue from which the nail grows), nail bed (tissue under the nail), and skin at the base of the nail. Damage to the nail bed by the pustular psoriasis can result in loss of the nail. Nail changes in psoriasis fall into general categories that may occur singly or all together.
The nail has a yellow to yellow-pink discoloration, probably due to psoriatic involvement of the nail bed.White areas appear under the nail plate. These are air bubbles marking spots where the nail plate is becoming detached from the nail bed (onycholysis). There may be reddened skin around the nail.
Social Impact of psoriasis
A person suffering from Psoriasis can have problems with his Self-confidence, Relationships, Work/School, and Social Interactions. People with psoriasis experience a crisis in self-confidence so severe it can hamper almost every aspect of life,from the quality of a persons love life, problems in marital relationship to performance in the job and day today social interactions. People have also reported feeling like social outcasts and being misunderstood in the public.
HOMEOPATHIC TREATMENT FOR PSORIASIS
Homeopathy is a safe method of treatment for Psoriasis. It is free from side-effects, and a majority of cases can be treated with homoeopathy. They work by moderating the over-active immune system. The initial aim is to manage the itching and burning sensation in the eruptions.
1. KALI ARSENICUM
There is severe itching, especially in warm conditions. It is also prescribed to those who have cuts and oozing lesions along the inner side of the elbow and behind the knees.
Usefull for skin and scalp psoriasis.There is eruption on scalp forming thick crust which contain thick pus.
3. KALI SULPH
usefull for dry skin with itching.Also usefull for peeling and flaking of skin.
4. ARSENIC ALBUM
Usefull for papular eruption with dryness and roughness of skin.