Psoriasis is a skin disease characterized by chronic appearance of silvery scaly patches, primarily on the elbows, knees and scalp, but they can appear anywhere in the body. It can be mild (less than 5% of skin affected), moderate (up to 30%) and severe (more than 30% of the entire surface of the skin)
Psoriasis is caused by abnormal growth of skin cells. Outer skin cells are reproduced from the cells in the basal layer of the skin that replace the top layers cells as they die and fall off. Normal skin renewal period usually takes about a month. In people with psoriasis, new skin forms in a week. The rate of establishment of the basal cells in psoriasis patients is so high that not enough time is given to the top cells to disappear , resulting in an accumulation of dead silvered cells in the upper layers of the skin.
It is a a chronic relapsing disease that affects more men than women and that requires appropriate treatment to minimize its symptoms. It can exist for a longer or shorter period, to disappear and then reappear after a few months or even years.
Types of psoriasis
The main types of psoriasis are:
- Psoriasis vulgaris: This is the most common. It is characterized by a series of outer plaques that normally appear on the elbows, scalp, knees and lumbar or sacral region.
- Pustular psoriasis: It is characterized by pus-filled sores that can be located anywhere in the body (localized pustular psoriasis) or throughout the body (generalized pustular psoriasis). Sometimes they appear at the end of the fingers of both hands and feet (Hallopeau acrodermatitis) can damage the nail or bone. Another variety is that which occurs in plants of the hands or feet (Palmoplantar Pustulosis or psoriasis of Barber) All these forms of psoriasis appear only in adults.
- Scalp psoriasis: It is characterized by the appearance of plaques in the scalp. Can also affect areas of the face (facial psoriasis) Scalp psoriasis is a very common type of psoriasis because it provides almost half of patients affected by this disease.
- Nail psoriasis: It affects the nails, resulting from simple points to thick yellowish areas that deform and break down the nail.
- Inverse psoriasis: It forms in areas of skin folds (armpits, ,crotches, between the buttocks, navel, between the breasts, under breasts, etc.)
- Gouty psoriasis (guttate psoriasis): Characterized by small dots on the arms, legs or chest. Sometimes in the face and hair. Streptococcal infections usually trigger this type of psoriasis.
- Psoriatic arthritis: It is a type of pain caused by psoriasis in the joints. It can manifest in the lower back, fingers, hips, knees, wrists, elbows etc. The eyes may become inflamed.
Symptoms of psoriasis
Possible symptoms are mainly plaques in the skin, skin inflammation, itching, skin lesions, cracks, red spots, sore joints caused by arthritic psoriasis, itchy eyes, tearing, etc.
Causes of psoriasis
The cause of psoriasis is thought to be a response of the immune system that attacks its own cells. These reactions have a number of risk factors or possible triggers, including:
- Bad diet (too many animal fats, alcoholic beverages, pastries, chocolate, etc.). Toxins are eliminated from the body through the liver and skin. A body with toxins can trigger or exacerbate the disease. It has been found in patients with low levels of certain minerals or amino acids, also in people ingesting drugs, including alcohol. Tobacco is thought to be responsible for 25% of cases of psoriasis.
- Psychological causes: Nervousness and stress are two aggravating factors that can trigger psoriasis. It has been found that many people, after periods of stress, use to develop or worsen it. Stress raises adrenaline levels which increases blood flow to the skin.
- Skin lesions. Some lesions in the skin, such as wounds, burns, sunburn, heavy blows to the knees, etc., may precipitate or worsen this disease.
- Environment: A too cold or too dry environment seems to be one of the triggering or aggravating factors.
- Inheritance. Psoriasis may have a genetic origin.
- Race: It mainly affects Caucasian people . It is rare in black people.
- Exposure to poisons: The skin contact with toxic products may be another factor triggering or exacerbating this disease.
Diagnostic and treatment of psoriasis
The main treatment for psoriasis focuses on infection control that may result from wounds in the skin. If psoriasis is severe, emergency hospital treatment is required to prevent infections to become widespread or affect important organs of the body.
If pimples on the skin, along with fever or muscle aches, appear , the patient should be medically attended as soon as possible. Similarly, one should look for medical care whenever the treatment does not take effect or changes in the skin that can not be explained occur.
Arthritic psoriasis requires treatment similar to the other types of arthritis. In mild cases, it may require the application of suitable products for hair and skin, suc as dandruff shampoos, antibiotics, corticosteroids, keratolytics, sunbathing, etc. All this must be combined with good hygiene, proper nutrition and control of the anxiety that may create or exacerbate its symptoms.
The natural treatment of psoriasis involves the use some natural resources that can prevent this disease or improve it.