Psoriasis is a skin disease that causes scaling and inflammation. Skin cells regrow in around 28 days normally but this reduces to 4 days in psoriasis. This can lead to piling up of skin cells leading to thick, dark red patches with silvery scales and itching around the infection. Patches generally occur around the elbows, knees, legs, scalp, lower back, face, palms, and the soles of the feet.
There is no specific cure of psoriasis but the focus is on managing it to keep the symptoms to a minimum. The management is based on severity and type of psoriasis.
Treatment of Psoriasis
Psoriasis treatments aim to stop skin cells from growing quickly and to remove scales.
Treatment options include-
Topical agents– These are ointments /creams which are applied directly to the skin to reduce inflammation and itching.
Systemic treatment– This generally includes immune suppressors which reduces the immune response.
Light therapy– Combined with medication, natural/artificial ultraviolet light is used to slow down the growth of cells.
Living with Psoriasis
Most Psoriasis patients feel it a day to day problem and may become depressed, self conscious and fear rejection in the society. This can lead to psychological issues and mental stress.
Following are the points to manage Psoriasis effectively-
- Do not delay treatment when symptoms are mild as the symptoms may flare up without it.
- Psoriasis outbreaks are often triggered by external factors. Keeping a diary can help identify triggers.
- Inform your dermatologist if you are pregnant or intend to get pregnant. Pregnancy can flare up symptoms and treatment options have to be optimised.
- Take medication as directed to ensure maximum benefit. Never stop taking your medication without your dermatologist’s approval.
- After receiving light therapy, your symptoms may worsen before improving.
- Avoid self treatment.
- As psoriasis begins to heal, skin tends to flake and peel and may feel itchy. When itching is a problem, skin moisturizers may help.
- Being overweight increases the severity of psoriasis and reduces the effectiveness of treatment hence weight loss has a positive impact on management of Psoriasis.
- Smoking and alcohol plays a role in the onset of psoriasis and future flare-ups. Hence quit smoking and limit alcohol intake.
- Follow a healthy lifestyle. Hypertension, high cholesterol level, and lack of exercise increase the risk for psoriasis.
Learn as much as possible about psoriasis. This will improve understanding of the disease, triggers, and will help in management and living with Psoriasis easier.
By, Dr Prerna Gaur