What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a skin condition in which skin cell division is 1000 times greater than normal skin. It can start at any age but most often develops between 11 and 45 years and sometimes at puberty. Normal skin cell reproduction takes 21-28 days but in this condition it takes only 2-6 days.
As a result cells build up rapidly on the surface of the skin causing red, flaky, crusty patches covered with silvery scales. It is most commonly found on elbows, knees, lower back and the scalp. It can cause intense itching and burning.
The severity of psoriasis varies from person to person. This is a persistent disease that can return at any time.
Common types of Psoriasis are:
- Plaque Psoriasis – the most common form. Around 80% of people with psoriasis have this form. Its symptoms are dry, red skin lesions known as plaques that are covered in scales. They normally appear on elbows, knees scalp and lower back or anywhere on the body.
- Nail Psoriasis – causing nails to pit, become discoloured and grow abnormally.
- Guttate Psoriasis – occurs following a throat infection (streptococci) and is more common in children and teenagers. Usually disappears completely but some young people develop plaque psoriasis.
- Scalp Psoriasis – this normally affects the back of the head but it can occur in other parts of the scalp. Some people find it extremely itchy.
- Inverse Psoriasis – affects folds and creases of the skin, such as groin, armpits and the skin between the buttocks and under the breasts. It is made worse by friction and sweating. It’s more common in overweight people.
Rare types of Psoriasis are:
- Pustular Psoriasis – this causes pus filled blisters (pustules) to appear on skin. Different types affect different parts of the body.
- Erythrodermic psoriasis – it’s the rarest form of psoriasis. This can cover the body with a wide spread red rash that causes intense itching or burning. It can cause the body to lose proteins and fluid.
Causes of psoriasis
The exact cause of psoriasis is unknown but it is known that the immune system is involved. Simply put antibodies called T cells start attacking healthy skin cells by mistake. This triggers other immune responses that cause an increase in the production of new skin cells and also T cells.
Psoriasis runs in families.
HIV infection can cause psoriasis.
Identified triggers for Psoriasis are:
- An injury to skin such as a cut, scrape, insect bite or sunburn.
- Certain medicines like lithium, antimalarial medicines, anti-inflammatory medicines including ibuprofen, ACE inhibitors (hypertension) and beta-blockers.
Treatment of psoriasis
In the NHS treatment consists of the following:
- Topical creams and ointments applied to skin including corticosteroids and vitamin D cream.
- Phototherapy: Skin is exposed to certain types of light including sunlight.
- Oral and injected medication.
- Limit sugar, meat, animal fats and alcohol. Increase dietary fiber and cold-water fish. Normalize weight. Eliminate gluten. Identify and address food allergies.
- Support gastro intestinal function if necessary with hydrochloric acid and pancreatic enzymes.
- Prevent bowel toxicity by following a high fibre diet. Consider supplementing psyllium or pectin 5 grams at bedtime.
- Support liver function. Correcting abnormal liver function is beneficial. If excess bowel toxins overwhelm the liver or the liver can’t detoxify effectively psoriasis worsens. Alcohol worsens psoriasis; it needs to be eliminated. Silymarin is good for treating psoriasis by improving liver function.
- Evaluate stress levels and use stress reduction techniques as appropriate.
- High multiple vitamin/mineral complex
- Flaxseed oil 1 Tblsp
- Vitamin A 50.000 IU (avoid if pregnant or who may become pregnant.)
- Vitamin D? 2000 IU
- Vitamin E 400 IU
- Chromium 400 mg
- Selenium 200mg
- Zinc 30 mg.
|About The Author
Susan Davis is a fully qualified Nutritional Therapist located in the New Forest, Hampshire. Susan typically sees from the surrounding areas of Cranbourne, Damerham, Verwood and Three Legged Cross.
Find out more about Susan’s work by visiting her GoToSee profile page here