What is psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a skin condition where the cells in the skin have an increased rate of turnover resulting in thick scales on the skin.
How does a patient with psoriasis present?
Patients have a dry skin and affected area has red scaly patches. Itching may occur in hot and humid climate. The common areas affected are the elbows, knees and back.
How does psoriasis occurs?
The cause of psoriasis is not known. There may be a genetic predisposition which may be triggered off by unknown factors. Physical and emotional stress may aggravate psoriasis. Certain drugs such steroid hormones, anti hypertensive drugs and infections may trigger psoriasis. REMEMBER PSORIASIS IS NOT CONTAGIOUS.
Does psoriasis affect only the skin?
Nails may also be involved in about 50% of patients with psoriasis. Nails have a pitted surface. Some individuals may also have arthritis.
What is the treatment for psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a disease of relapses and remissions. It seldom remits permanently. Treatment consists of following:
Patients with mild disease get considerable relief with moisturizing creams. Ointments such as coal tar, anthralin, non-steroidal vitamin D3 (calcipotriol) and steroid creams are also useful.
- Topical ointments
- Oral drugs
Phototherapy is very effective in clearing psoriasis. Ultraviolet light (UVB or UVA) if used in gradual increasing doses and causes remission in most patients.
When psoriasis does not respond to creams and phototherapy, oral drugs such as methotrexate, cyclosporin, etretinate and sulphasalazine may be prescribed by your doctor. These drugs are highly potent but can have serious side effects and need to be monitored by regular blood tests to prevent an adverse event.
Oral steroids should be avoided because even though it helps to clear psoriasis fast, it may result in a rapid and severe rebound of psoriasis once steroids are stopped.
Are there any precautions that one can take to prevent psoriasis?
There are no food or supplements that one needs to avoid to prevent psoriasis. However green leafy vegetables are preferred in diet as against meat. One needs to prevent scratching the skin as this may cause of psoriasis to flare up at the site of injury. Also try to keep the skin as moist as possible to reduce itching and scaling. Exposure to sunlight is welcome but prevent sunburn.
If active psoriasis is present, do not scratch the plaques as this may actually worsen psoriasis. Treatment is prolonged and one should not give up treatment too soon as it may take a few weeks for some effect. REMEMBER, THERE IS NO QUICK CURE FOR PSORIASIS.
Last created on 01-12-2005
Last updated on 18-11-2006