Psoriasis: Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factors And How To Treat It
Psoriasis causes rapid growth and development of cells on the surface of the skin. Consequently, there’s skin thickening with symptoms such as itching, dryness and red, sometimes painful stains.
Psoriasis is a persistent, chronic disease. Its symptoms occur periodically, and are particularly affected by certain factors, such as cold weather, infections, skin injuries, some types of medications, stress, smoking, and alcohol.
The primary goal of its treatment is to stop the growth of skin cells. Although there is no medication for psoriasis, the treatments can provide significant relief. Natural remedies and creams, and controlled exposure to natural sunlight can also help relieve the symptoms.
Symptoms Of Psoriasis
The symptoms of the disease may vary from person to person. However, the most common symptoms include:
– Red spots on the skin, covered with silver scales
– Dry, cracked skin that can bleed
– Itching, burning sensation or pain
– Slim and damaged nails, prone to cracking and splitting
– Swollen and stiff joints
Psoriasis usually affects the scalp, elbows and knees. It may affect a small part of the skin, but sometimes, it may occur in larger areas. The symptoms of the disease pass through several cycles, from very pronounced to weak.
Causes Of Psoriasis
The exact cause of this skin disease is still unknown. However, health experts associate it with problems of the immune system. More specifically, the T cells (T lymphocytes that are a subtype of white blood cells), which usually travel throughout the human organism and detect foreign substances like bacteria and viruses, begin to attack healthy skin cells by mistake, confusing them with an infection. The T cells cause an overwhelming immune response, consequently triggering an expansion of the skin’s blood vessels and an increase in the other white blood cells, which can enter the outer skin layer.
All these changes cause an increase in the production of healthy skin cells, and an increased number of T cells and other white blood cells. In this way, the cycle of skin regeneration lasts several days instead of weeks. The dead layer of skin cells and white blood cells creates thick, scaly spots on the skin’s surface, and this process does not stop until some sort of treatment breaks the cycle of regeneration.
Factors That Worsen The Symptoms Of Psoriasis
Psoriasis usually begins or worsens under the influence of the following factors:
– Skin infections
– Throat infections
– Skin injuries, such as scratches or cuts, insect bites or severe burns
– Cold weather
– Alcohol abuse
– Vitamin D deficiency
– Some medications, such as lithium, used in bipolar disorders, medications used to treat high blood pressure like beta-blockers, iodide drugs and antimalarial medications.
Some of the following treatments can help you with mild to moderate psoriasis:
– Daily bathing – helps remove scalp and dead skin, and soothes irritated skin. Use natural soaps and avoid those that can irritate your skin even further.
– Use moisturizing creams or natural oils after bathing – they keep the skin moist and prevent its drying.
– Expose your skin to smaller amounts of natural sunlight – moderate exposure is recommended, but in case of excessive exposure to the sun, and especially sweating, the symptoms may get worse.
– Therapy with ultraviolet rays (tanning beds) and vitamin D supplements is often prescribed as a natural treatment for this disease. This treatment helps increase the binding of the peptide cathelicidin to the DNA, which in turn inhibits the inflammatory processes that act as a trigger for psoriasis.
– Avoid alcohol and cigarettes
In severe cases of psoriasis, medicinal creams and oils are applied to the skin, in combination with oral medication or phototherapy. The treatments usually include corticosteroids, synthetic forms of vitamin D, anthralin, retinoids, salicylic acid, coal tar, and the like.
However, psoriasis can never be completely cured. The goal is to relieve the symptoms, such as thickened and scaly skin, and to prevent the growth of cells.
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Measurement of vitamin D and cathelicidin (LL-37) levels in patients of psoriasis with co-morbidities.
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