Here are the top interesting facts about psoriasis:
#1 Psoriasis is a chronic, painful, non-communicable, disabling, and disfiguring disease with a great negative impact on patients’ quality of life, plus, there is no cure for it.
#2 It is characterized by skin cells that multiply much faster than they should. When they reach the surface, red plaques covered with white scales form.
#3 The most frequent areas affected are the elbows, scalp, lower back, and knees, however, any skin surface may be involved. Furthermore, this condition can occur in the body folds and nails.
#4 Psoriatic arthritis can show up at any age, although it appears most commonly in people between 30 and 50. Women and men are equally likely to get it.
#5 There are different types of this condition, but most people have only one form. However, two different types can occur together. This condition is not contagious.
#6 Worldwide, more than 125 million people have this condition. This is 2 to 3 percent of the total world population. According to the data, about 7.5 million people in the United States (around 2.2 percent of the population) have this autoimmune disease.
#7 It typically occurs between the ages of 15 and 35, but it can develop at any age. Approximately 10 to 15% percent of sufferers get it before age 10.
#8 Symptoms vary from individual to individual and may include one or more of the following characteristics:
- nail arthritis and psoriasis may be present;
- lesions on the body;
- thick, red patches of skin variable in size and covered with silvery scales.
#9 The incidence of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease is 3.8 to 7.5 times increased in people with this autoimmune disease than in the general population. Moreover, this condition is associated with other health conditions, including – heart disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus.
#10 More importantly, patients have higher levels of depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts, plus, the worse the severity of the skin condition, the greater the burden on body image, self-esteem, social life, psychological health, and overall quality of life.
#11 The cause is not completely understood, however, it is thought to be related to an immune system problem with T cells and neutrophils in the body.
#12 Patients have an increased production of skin cells. Skin cells are normally made and replaced every month, but in people with this condition, this process only lasts about 6 days.
#13 Many sufferers find that their symptoms start to worsen due to a certain event, known as a trigger. Common triggers include:
- other immune disorders, like – the HIV infection;
- throat infections;
- medications, particularly beta-blockers, lithium, chloroquine, indomethacin, ACE inhibitors, interferon-alfa, and terbinafine;
- emotional stress;
- smoking tobacco;
- drinking alcoholic beverages;
- an injury to your skin, like – a scrape, cut, sunburn, or insect bite.
#14 It is usually diagnosed by a physical examination by observing the appearance of the diseased skin. Moreover, some healthcare professionals can order skin biopsies which can support the diagnosis, but they are not always definitive.
#15 This condition is very costly to treat. Also, the treatment itself can be a very time-consuming commitment. For instance, some of the newest treatments can cost more than $25,000 per year and involve months of intensive treatment regimens.
#16 Usual treatment commonly includes:
- vitamin D preparations;
- corticosteroid ointments or creams;
- dithranol (contains the active ingredient dithranol in a zinc and salicylic acid paste) -it has been used in the treatment of this condition since the 19th century;
- tar preparations;
#17 Topical medicines available by prescription include:
- triamcinolone acetonide (Kenalog);
- fluocinonide (Vanos);
- mometasone (Elocon);
- alclometasone (Aclovate);
- desonide (Desonate);
- betamethasone (Luxiq);
- flurandrenolide (Cordran SP, Cordran, Cordran Tape);
- halcinonide (Halog-E and Halog).
#18 Phototherapy with lasers and ultraviolet light on the surface of the skin can considerably reduce scales and inflammation.
#19 MGC Pharmaceuticals Ltd (a European-based expert Medical Cannabis company) has launched its first Derma Plus product called – Herbal Repair Cream. This medicine contains cannabidiol (a cannabis compound that has effective medical benefits) compounds that may be used for the daily relief of inflammation and scales.
#20 Lower your Stress – stress frequently aggravates autoimmune disorders because of the “fight or flight” response and how it impacts the immune system. Then, it releases higher levels of cytokines – inflammatory proteins that contribute to hormonal imbalances.
#21 Moderate physical exercise – apart from helping to lessen anxiety and boosting your sleep, physical exercise notably increases the production of endorphins. Endorphins act as analgesics, which means they diminish the perception of pain as well as improve energy and mood. More importantly, the levels of other brain chemicals, like – dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine are also improved, which, ultimately, counteracts the negative effects of day-to-day stress.
#22 Consider incorporating stress-reducing practices, like – Tai Chi, yoga, and mindfulness meditation.
#23 Quit smoking – it can make the symptoms of this condition notably worse.
#24 Use a humidifier, especially during dry seasons of the year. It will help keep the skin moist. Avoid dry, cold weather because for many sufferers it can make symptoms worse.
#25 Avoid alcoholic beverages since they cause symptoms to flare up.
#26 Avoid dairy products, like – cheese, milk, ice cream, cheeseburgers, pizza, or cakes. These foods cause chronic inflammation in the human body and increase the chance of any type of disease.
#27 Essential oils can also help to treat and prevent this condition.
- indomethacin, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine used to treat arthritis;
- inderal, a drug used to treat hypertension;
- antimalarial medicines, like – hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, that are typically used to prevent malaria;
- lithium, a drug used to treat mental disorders, such as – manic depression.
#29 Anti-inflammatory diet – while acute inflammation is a perfectly healthy and beneficial process that happens when the white blood cells and chemicals protect the body from foreign invaders. The problem is when acute inflammation becomes a chronic condition. It contributes to numerous chronic conditions, such as – rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and some types of cancer.
#30 Turmeric – many studies have concluded that this spice has potent anti-inflammatory properties, mainly due to its content of curcumin, a compound that has been shown to protect skin by neutralizing free radicals. Other anti-inflammatory foods include – sweet potatoes, red cabbage, pineapple, blueberries, blackberries, grapes, cauliflower, broccoli, chia seeds, flax seeds, pears, apples, mango, papaya, cinnamon, ginger, radishes, and tomatoes.
Images credit – Shutterstock & Getty
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