Psoriasis: The Causes, Symptoms and Treatments
You’re preparing to take a shower as you undress in front of the mirror in a fast frenzy, hoping you won’t be late for the appointment scheduled today. However, as you look at the mirror, you start to notice scaly patches of red and white color on your body, particularly along the soles of your feet and the skin of your knees. At first, you blame it on the new soap you’re using. But as days pass by and you become increasingly stressed, the scaly patches begin to get worse. You decide to visit a doctor in order to get medical advice. After a range of diagnostic tests, the doctor told you that you have psoriasis and that you will be given a range of psoriasis treatment methods to help minimize the symptoms.
For those of you who aren’t aware of what psoriasis is, it is a chronic disease that is mediated by the immune system. It means that the immune system provides a dysfunctional signal for the brain, causing it to send another signal that triggers a fast growth cycle of the skin cells. The symptoms manifest on the skin of the person. It is good to remember that although psoriasis is not a contagious disease, it increases the risk of stroke, which is why it is important to find psoriasis treatment as early as possible.
Signs and Symptoms
There are five types of psoriasis namely the erythrodermic, inverse, guttate, plaque, inverse and the pustular psoriasis. Nevertheless, the plaque psoriasis is considered to be the most typical form found in most patients suffering from the disease. It is often described as red and white colors of scaly patches found in the top layer of the epidermis (skin). Plaques are commonly seen on the elbows and the knees but it can also be seen on other areas of the body including the palms of the hand, the soles of the feet, the genitals, the arms, the legs and the scalp. It is also found in the outer side of the joints in stark contrast to eczema and it can range from merely being small groups patches to the whole body being covered with it.
Sometimes, people with psoriasis also tend to suffer another symptom called the psoriatic nail dystrophy wherein the fingernails and toenails become affected. Ten to forty percent of those who are diagnosed with psoriasis also tend to suffer from psoriatic arthritis wherein the joints become inflamed. There are also those who do not portray any dermatological symptoms. Despite the increasing number of psoriasis treatment options available to those who are suffering from the disease, it is still a challenge to treat. In fact, severe cases of psoriasis has been clinically proven to affect the quality of life health-wise in the same way other chronic diseases such as type II diabetes, hypertension and congestive heart failure affect the health. The areas affected oftentimes dictate the disability and the discomfort felt by the patient. For instance, plaques found in the hands may lead to inability to do specific occupations, care for family members or play some sports.
Plaques found in the scalp are commonly thought of as dandruff, which can lead to embarrassment and low self-esteem for those afflicted with it. Numerous people dealing with psoriasis are experiencing low self-confidence and self-image because of their appearance. They are scared and conscious of what other people thinks of them and how they would react to their illness. Most of these psychological effects of the illness can result to a severe bout with depression and social isolation. Sixty five percent of the individuals who suffer psoriasis only have mild distribution of the disease while 25% have it on a moderate level. Eight percent suffers from severe psoriatic distribution while only 2 percent actually undergo phototherapy or several systemic medications around the world.
Despite the growing number of psoriasis treatment options available, the cause of the said disease is still considered to be idiosyncratic, although medical experts have pushed two considerable factors that may predispose the disease. The first one is the genetic factor because it is believed that the disease has a part hugely established by heredity and genes. Nevertheless, this factor still has some vague areas, including how the genes work together to lead to psoriasis. The hereditary component between the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) and the T cells are particularly focused to determine the pathways and mechanisms on a molecular level, in order to create more effective drugs for psoriasis treatment.
Gene experts have found nine different locations (loci) on chromosomes that are linked to psoriasis. These chromosomes have been dubbed as the psoriasis susceptibility 1 through 9 (PSORS 1 through PSORS 9), meaning, if you have these chromosomes then you are more likely to develop psoriasis. The PSORS 1 is the leading chromosome that causes psoriasis in 35-50% cases amongst the gene pool.
Another factor associated with psoriasis is the immune system mainly because of the numerous immune cells, which are accountable for causing psoriasis by sending signals with each other to create inflammation. Immune system experts theorize that a dysfunction in the regulatory T cells and the regulatory cytokine interleukin-10.
The interventions done for people suffering from psoriasis depend on the distribution level of the disease throughout their body. For instance, mild distribution of plaques will most likely be treated with topical agents, moderate distribution will be treated with phototherapy and severe distribution will most likely be treated with systemic agents. Topical agents commonly used to treat mild plaques include mineral oil, petroleum jelly and several moisturizers as these help decrease the itchiness and the dryness of the affected skin. Other creams and ointments with fluocinonide, retinoids, corticosteroids, desoximetasone, dithranol and coal tar as ingredients are also utilized to treat mild plaques.
Meanwhile, phototherapy, which is another word for lying under the sun, is also considered to be a good treatment method for moderate psoriatic plaques. However, to avoid skin cancer, special lamps have been created specifically for this purpose. On the other hand, systemic agents are taken internally, which is why they are only given to those who are suffering from severe distribution of psoriatic plaques. The three commonly used systemic agents include the retinoids, the methotrexate and the cyclosporine. The Retinoids are synthetic forms of Vitamin A while the cyclosporine and the methotrexate are typically used to suppress the immune system. Other psoriasis treatment methods include lifestyle and diet changes, the ichthyotherapy and the hypnotherapy.Psoriasis: The Causes, Symptoms and Treatments,
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