Learn all about psoriasis and its treatment, causes, sign and symptoms!
What is psoriasis?
psoriasis is a non-contagious disease which affects over all skin of your body .psoriasis is a condition that produces papules which spread to over all skin of your body.These papules become itchy and inflamed upon scratching.Psoriasis is common in obese persons, patients suffering from diabetes or heart disease.Genetic predisposition is another important factor in the development of psoriasis.Sometimes, environmental factors act as trigger in the pathogenesis of psoriasis.Currently, there is no cure of psoriasis but it can be managed by certain medications which reduce the severity of disease and ease the symptoms of psoriasis.
Psoriasis is a common skin disorder in which changes occur in the life cycle of skin cells.These changes cause skin cells to bulid up rapidly on the surface of the skin.This outer growth of skin cells form a thick patch which is painful and associated with inflammation.psoriasis is a persistent and chronic type of disease and it is categorized into many types for example psoriasis vulgaris, Gentralized pustular psoriasis, Acrodermatitis continua, Pustulosis palmariset plantaris, Guttate psoriasis, Psoriatic arthritis, Psoriatic spondylitis and Inverse psoriasis.
Sign and Symptoms of Psoriasis
Psoriasis symptoms vary from patient to patient depending upon the severity of condition and other physical factors.However, some commonly reported symptoms are mentioned below as
- Formation of red patches on skin
- Small scaling spots
- burning sensation
- Scaly and ridged nails
- Dry Skin
- Cracked skin
- Swollen and Stiff joints
- Presence of dandruff on skin
Causes of Psoriasis
Exact cause of psoriasis is not full understood but it presumed that psoriasis is linked with immune system response.Actually immune system consists of many components in which type of white blood cells called as T-lymphocytes or T-cells are also part of immune system.Normally, these T-lymphocytes circulate in blood stream throughout the body and identify foreign particles and kill them.But in case of psoriasis these T-lymphocytes or T-cells attack mistakenly on healthy skin cells. These T-lymphocytes provoke immune system to activate and produce immune response which causes dilation of blood vessels in the skin near plaques or patches.
Dilation of skin blood vessels will result into increase supply of T-lymphocytes and Increase the production of healthy skin cells and other white blood cells.After few days these healthy skin cells and white blood cells form a thick , scaly outer-growth or patches on surface of skin.The process of formation of thick scaly patches will not stop unless medicines are taken to interrupts the cycle.Other factors that may contribute in the development of psoriasis includes skin infections, injury to skin, sunburn, stress, cold weather, smoking and consumption of alcohol.
Treatment of Psoriasis
There are variety of medications which have been approved in the treatment of psoriasis.These medication are discussed below
Corticosteroids are basically steroids used in various inflammatory disorders like eczema, pruritis, allergy and psoriasis. Corticosteroids have powerful anti-inflammatory properties and first line therapy in treatment of mild to moderate psoriasis. Corticosteroids efficiently reduce the cell turnover by suppressing immune system.
Immunosuppressant effect of corticosteroids will ease the symptoms like inflammation, itching, redness of skin and pain.If psoriasis is confined to small area then topical application of corticosteroids is very beneficial but if person is suffering from aggressive type of psoriasis then parenteral administration of corticosteroids like methyl prednisolone is necessary.
Vitamin D analogues
Vitamin D analogues are prepared synthetically and are used in the treatment of psoriasis .Main mechanism of using Vitamin D analogues is that they slow down the growth of skin cells.Example of Vitamin D analogue is calciprotriene (Dovonex) which is prescription only medicine(POM).This medicines is used in the form of cream or solution alone or in combination of some other topical products .Sometimes topical application of this medicine may cause irritation or burning sensation so, always ask your doctor before using such medicines.
Calcineurin inhibitors basically used in the treatment of atopic dermatitis but recent studies have shown that they are also beneficial in the treatment of mild to moderate psoriasis.Main mechanism by which they are play important role in psoriasis treatment is that they disrupt the activation of T-lymphocytes or T-cells.This disruption of T-lymphocytes reduces the inflammation and patch formation. Calcineurin inhibitors are not recommended for long-term treatment because of their adverse drug reactions and low drug safety profile. examples of calcineurin inhibitors are tacrolimus (Prograf) and Pimecrolimus(Elidel).
salicylic acid is available as OTC(over the counter) product and it is widely prescribed by dermatologists in for the treatment of various skin disorders like eczema, pruritis and psoriasis. Salicylic acid provides symptomatic relief in the treatment of psoriasis.Salicylic acid reduces inflammation, pain and itching problem so, it should be used in combination with suitable topical steroid like dexamethasone or betamethasone. Salicylic acid also available in medicated shampoos, creams and ointments.