What Is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a long-standing autoimmune disease, a skin disease where the body attacks its very own immune cells which are characterized by the patches of abnormal skin anywhere on the body. These skin patches range from small, medium to large-sized patches which are typically red, itchy, and scaly.
Incidence: Approximately 1% to 2 % of the general population suffers from psoriasis. Males and females are equally affected by it. The disease can get triggered at any age, but it is commonly noticed affecting the middle-aged population.
Psoriasis predominantly affects the skin, but other body parts, such as the nails, scalp, joints, and private parts, may also get affected. Psoriasis usually gets worse in the winter season; hence laymen often call it as a winter disease.
The disease presents itself with ugly looking lesions which may become a reason for the embarrassment in individuals suffering from it. Individuals suffering from extensive lesions may become introverts and avoid going into crowds. They may ultimately avoid socializing and restrict themselves to their homes which further may lead to depression. In such cases, counseling plays a major and crucial role which can explain to them that the disease they are suffering from is not contagious and that it is safe to shake hands and mix up with their near and dear ones. This will help them regain their confidence and live a normal life.
Homeopathic Treatment For Psoriasis
Homeopathy is suggested to be used as the first choice for treatment for psoriasis. Psoriasis is not just a skin disease, but it results from the faulty functioning of the immune system. Certain genetic predisposition makes one prone to psoriasis. The disease is deeply seated and hence it needs a systematic and well-planned treatment. Homeopathy has the potential to stimulate the body’s natural healing capacity and restore the disturbed immune system. Homeopathic medicines address and work at the root cause of the ailment and restore the deviated immunity to normal.
Scope And The Duration Of Homeopathic Treatment
One should think of homeopathy as the first line of treatment when psoriasis is recently detected and the patches are mild.
The treatment time varies from case to case.
One should immediately start homeopathic treatment to reduce the treatment time and prevent the risk of further complications of the disease.
Types of psoriasis where the scalp, joints, and nails are involved need much more time compared to the other varieties of psoriasis.
When one suffers from extensive psoriasis (where more than 50% of the body is involved), lesions take much longer time to heal as compared to that in the mild cases. The history of medication is also an important factor, which needs to be considered during the case-taking procedure and plays a significant role in the duration of the treatment.
The patient’s general health with regards to his/her overall immunity also plays a major role in determining the recovery from psoriasis. Underlying autoimmune disease, such as thyroid disorders and ailments, diabetes or systemic illnesses, such as hypertension, may also affect the recovery time. A significant recovery may be found in the initial 8 to 10 weeks of the treatment.
The longer you take the steroids or any other immune suppressants; the treatment time lengthens as the disease becomes more complex.
Our Experience In Treating Psoriasis Using Homeopathy
Based on our rich experience of more than 33 years, we were able to treat over 4000 cases of psoriasis. We have recorded and documented several varieties of psoriasis of individuals of all age groups and treated people across the world. Through our seasoned practice, we have observed that psoriasis on the skin is easier to treat than psoriatic arthritis (psoriasis affecting the joints) and psoriasis affecting the nails. Similarly, scalp psoriasis is challenging to treat as compared to psoriasis affecting the skin.
At Life Force, meticulous details are noted while taking the case history of the patient, and that helps us to learn the disease process in the patient. We excel in treating patients with modern homeopathic medicines with the help of which we have been able to give sustainable results to most of the patients of psoriasis. Based on our significant experience, we strongly recommend homeopathy for the treatment of psoriasis.
Psoriasis is triggered as a result of certain autoimmune reaction, certain medications, and psychosomatic and hereditary factors. There is a series of changes that occur in the skin as a result of these triggers. Psoriasis is a T cell (cells responsible to cause an immune response in the body) mediated autoimmune disease. As an immune response, these cells become hyperactive and multiply themselves after receiving the trigger. Inflammatory (redness, pain on the skin) process begins due to the production of cytokines, such as interferon and interleukins (substances secreted by the cells of the immune system), in the blood. The skin cells (epidermis) multiply rapidly and shed immature skin which is called scaling.
Causes Of Psoriasis:
1. Autoimmunity: The immune system reacting to the skin cells is the basic cause of the disease. In a normal skin, the cells in our body renew itself daily without any visible shedding of the skin. But, in case of psoriasis, the skin cells multiply rapidly so much so that you can observe the dead skin scales falling off. This is autoimmunity where the cells of the body do not recognize their friends and start fighting with each other.
2. Hereditary: The genetic cause is also known to be the major cause of psoriasis. One may have the tendency to have psoriasis if anyone in the immediate family is suffering from psoriasis or any other autoimmune disease, unlike psoriasis. One parent suffering from psoriasis increases the risk of the child of developing it. The risk is even more if both the parents happen to suffer from psoriasis.
3. Medications: A long-term intake of medicines, such as beta-blockers (antihypertensive medicine) and NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory drug), may increase your risk of developing psoriasis.
4. Trauma: Any type of injury to the skin may also trigger psoriasis in the affected area, which is known as Kobner’s phenomenon in the medical term.
5. Stress: Long-standing stress may make one prone to suffer from psoriasis.
Types Of Psoriasis
1. Psoriasis Vulgaris: This is the most common type of psoriasis. It is characterized by scaling and itching. Psoriasis Vulgaris can affect any area of your body.
2. Guttate Psoriasis: Guttate psoriasis presents with multiple drop-shaped lesions anywhere on the body, mostly on larger parts, such as abdomen and back.
3. Pustular Psoriasis: Pustular psoriasis presents with small pus-filled but non-infectious blisters (wherein the boils comprises clear transparent non-infectious fluid).
4. Inverse Psoriasis: This type of psoriasis is mainly found in the folds of the skin like the folds of the elbow, armpits, under the breast, in the groins (folds of the thighs) and behind the knees.
5. Erythrodermic Psoriasis: Erythrodermic psoriasis is the least common type of psoriasis, however, it is a very serious condition. It encompasses most of your body and the skin patches tend to be bright pink.
Types Of Psoriasis (with regards to the part of the body affected)
1) Palmar psoriasis: Scaly and itchy lesions are restricted to palms and hands. There may also be deep cuts in few cases which bleed and are difficult to heal
2) Plantar psoriasis: Cracked, scaly and itchy lesions appear in the feet and soles.
3) Palmoplantar psoriasis: The unpleasant lesions affect the palms, hands, feet, and the soles together.
4) Psoriatic nails: Psoriasis can also affect the nails of your toes and fingers. The nails turn pitted and yellow. Usually, due to this condition, nails turn brittle and break easily. The nails get lifted from the nail bed, and you may find a powdery deposit beneath the nails.
5) Psoriatic arthritis: Psoriasis tends to affect any joint in the body. It denotes an advanced stage of psoriasis and is more challenging to treat as compared to skin psoriasis. It is seen that about 15% of the people having psoriasis have joint inflammation. It commonly affects the fingers joints and small joints like wrist, elbow and ankle joints. At times it becomes difficult to differentiate between other similar looking conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, gout, osteoarthritis etc. But when it comes to psoriatic arthritis, the patient is usually suffering from psoriasis which is enough to confirm the diagnosis. There is marked swelling of the affected joint, with pain which may vary in intensity and frequency. There may be stiffness in the joint which is usually worse during the morning and winter season. The blood investigations may misguide you at times since the C reactive protein and ESR may be raised. But the RA test is negative, anti-CCP antibodies and antinuclear antibodies are normal which helps in ruling out other conditions.
Conventional treatment for psoriasis
The conventional line of treatment treats psoriasis by giving certain immune-modulating medicines, such as steroids, methotrexate, cyclophosphamide, and cyclosporine. Steroids are usually given in an ointment form in the initial phase of the treatment when the psoriasis is mild and not very extensive. In extensive cases of psoriasis steroids are given in the form of tablets which gives quick relief from scaling, itching and reduces the active lesions. But, unfortunately, after stopping the use of steroids ointment or tablets, it increases the psoriatic lesions in an intensified manner. This is called as the steroid withdrawal phenomenon. Similarly, the other immune suppressants also have a similar role to play unlike steroids. These drugs start showing side effects on various internal organs (liver, kidney) and general health of the patient if continued for a long time.
Supportive Measures For Psoriasis (Diet and Skincare)
Diet during psoriasis treatment
Diet constitutes a major part of the psoriasis treatment. One of the major foods that need to be avoided is foods that contain gluten. Gluten is a complex protein which is found in wheat, rye, barley, and majorly in refined flour (maida). Go gluten-free. At Life Force, we recommend patients to follow a gluten-free diet. Foods rich in gluten are known to trigger itching and scaling. In a small survey at Life Force, we observed that the patients who were on a gluten-free diet respond very well compared to those who were taking gluten. Their symptoms were eased in a shorter time as compared to those who were eating gluten. So, avoid eating wheat, bakery products, and substitute it with jowar, nachni, maize, bajra, buckwheat (kuttu), and rice flour.
Drink plenty of water which will also help prevent dryness. Drinking water helps in keeping the skin hydrated. So, have liquids depending on your choice in any form like buttermilk, coconut water, kokum sherbet (best for preventing itching), juices, soups, milkshakes, etc.
1) Moisturizers: Moisturizing the skin to prevent dryness is a key to recovery from psoriasis. More the dryness, more the scaling, and more the scaling, the more is the irritation and hence the inflammation (pain and redness) increases. We recommend patients to apply coconut oil which is by far the best moisturizer. Using it regularly 3-4 times in a day helps in keeping the skin moist and supple, thereby reducing the irritation and scaling. Other moisturizers, such as olive oil, aloe vera gel, and Vaseline, are also recommended and can be used depending on the patient’s choice.
2) Bath: Keep the baths short. Use a mild soap and lukewarm water for bathing. In the case of scalp psoriasis, use sulfate and Paraben-free shampoo. Prefer doing an overnight scalp massage after every two to three days in a week before washing the hair.
Psoriasis support at Life Force
Our team of doctors is available to guide and help patients seeking information on Psoriasis and its treatment.