Getting Inside Psoriasis

Sufferers of this non-contagious condition are often looking to some great depth to get inside psoriasis to gain more of an understanding of what it is, and how to treat it. This is a condition that affects over seven million people in the USA alone and, as such, has led to a great deal of research into this auto-immune disease that manifests on the sufferer's skin. It is no respecter of age and around 10% of the psoriasis suffers will see an onset before the age of 10. However, it is more likely to occur between the ages of 15 and 35. The disease is not limited to any one gender or racial group but the incidence rate may vary between them.

In general terms, psoriasis occurs as a result of an increase in the growth cycle of skin cells. This then leads to itchiness and the appearance of excessive scaling on the skin and often bleeding lesions. It can affect all parts of the body, including the nails, but will most commonly be seen on the knees, elbows, scalp and torso. Lesions tend to be symmetrical so if you have an outbreak on your left torso you are most likely going to have one on the right as well.

The severity of the symptoms will cover a spectrum from mild to severe. If more than ten per cent of the body is covered, this is considered to be severe. To get an idea, the area on the palm of your hand is approximately one per cent of the body area. If you do happen to have psoriasis on your hands or soles of your feet, then this will affect your quality of life more than if it were on the torso.

There are many types of psoriasis which is possibly why it can sometimes be misdiagnosed as eczema. While psoriasis is an inflammatory skin condition, eczema is thought to be a reaction to irritants or allergies that are made worse by hormonal fluctuations and stress. However, psoriasis can be notoriously difficult to identify from eczema without some form of diagnostic test. But in very general terms, while both involve red, itchy skin and lesions, psoriasis tends to have silvery scaling, is more prone to bleeding and is more commonly found on the knees, elbows, scalp and lower back. In contrast, eczema is more likely to be found on the ankles and produces crusty scabs and pimples.

As you will see from other pages here, getting inside psoriasis is important because of the size of the problem and the relationship it has with other conditions. Psoriasis can affect the circulation because it may lead to infection, fluid loss and poor blood flow. Rheumatoid and arthritic psoriasis is common, with arthritic psoriasis found in between 10 and 30 per cent of psoriasis sufferers.

Itching is a huge problem for sufferers and occurs when particular chemicals trigger nerve fibres to send messages to the brain. Although you should of course see your physician for personal recommendations, the simplest way to help prevent itching is to moisturize the skin properly and keep it moisturized. While simple methods such as a wet towel on the itchy area may suffice for some, others may need steroids, antihistamines, topical immune-modulators, capsaicin or other topical anaesthetics for example. A classic remedy for psoriasis is heliotherapy or sunbathing. This gets inside psoriasis because the sun is able to slow the rapid recycling of skin associated with the condition. Of course have to balance this with avoiding the most powerful of the sun’s rays (at noon for example) and only expose the skin for very short periods. Generally, you are likely to find loose, natural materials more comfortable to wear as this will allow the air to circulate and moisture to evaporate.

Not only is moisture important in the form of unscented moisturizers, care must be given to your bath time routine. Warm, as opposed to hot water should be used and you should pat your body dry rather than rub it with the towel. While on the subject of water, drink plenty of it as it helps to keep you hydrated on the inside.

Browse these pages, in particular “what is psoriasis” and “remedies for psoriasis” and follow our psoriasis blog for more on how to get inside psoriasis and help yourself. This is an unpleasant condition that is misunderstood by many and can easily affect your self-esteem. There is no known cure for psoriasis so gaining control over the flare-ups and reducing their incidence is essential if this is a condition you suffer from.