Psoriasis is a non-infectious disease that affects the skin, nail plates and joints of a person. The disease is characterized by an undulating course with periods of exacerbations and remissions. The danger of this disease lies not only in the unpleasant sensations it causes, but also in the fact that the disease greatly complicates life, interfering with social adaptation and a normal quality of life. In severe cases, severe depression can result from the acute form of the disease.
How to get rid of psoriasis, what is this disease, what are the symptoms and treatment of psoriasis? You will learn about this from our article.
Under normal conditions, the skin of a healthy person is renewed within one month. During this time, dead cells are exfoliated, and new ones take their place. If there is a malfunction in the mechanism of skin renewal, the process of maturation of new cells takes only about a week, which disrupts the cellular balance. As a result, cells die off much faster.
In areas affected by the pathological process, there is an excessive proliferation of cells of the immune system, macrophages and cells of epithelial tissue. Due to this, exfoliation of the skin is observed and the creation of favorable conditions for the inflammatory process. In addition, the processes of formation of new capillaries are accelerated, which is why the skin at the site of inflammation turns red.
Chronic psoriasis is non-infectious in nature, so the disease is considered non-infectious. This was established back in the 19th century, but until now scientists cannot name the exact reason for its occurrence.
Among the reasons that are prerequisites for the development of the disease, there are:
- Heredity. If a person's parents or close relatives have a predisposition to skin pathologies, it is highly likely that it will be inherited. This is due to a mutation in some sections of DNA that was found among patients suffering from psoriasis, and a similar mutation found in their loved ones.
- Gene mutations. Violations in the structure of DNA, affecting the violation of the processes of renewal of the skin, can not only be inherited, but also manifest themselves at a later age in people whose relatives do not suffer from psoriasis. What causes such gene changes is unknown.
- Weakening of the immune system. Any violation of the body's defenses can become a trigger for the development of psoriasis.
- Disruptions in metabolic processes. Metabolic disorders are manifested in the form of changes in the metabolism of fats, nitrogen, carbohydrates and vitamins in psoriasis. As a result, there is an accumulation of toxins in the body, a decrease in adaptive abilities, and an increased susceptibility to infections. Also, patients have an increase in the fractions of bile acids in the blood serum, caused by metabolic disorders.
- External stimuli. Friction, constant contact with chemical compounds, wearing tight clothes, cuts and insect bites - all this causes the appearance of microtraumas on the skin, which over time can develop into psoriasis.
- Frequent allergic reactions. If a person has a tendency to atypical reactions of the immune system, manifested in the form of skin rashes, itching and rashes, this is an additional chance of getting psoriasis.
- Strong feelings or prolonged stressful situations. Any stress causes a weakening of the body's defenses and undermines the immune system. If a person has a tendency to skin diseases, it can manifest itself precisely at such moments. In addition, any stress affects the endocrine processes, due to which significant doses of adrenaline and norepinephrine are released into the blood. This process affects metabolic processes and biochemical reactions, becoming a prerequisite for the development of psoriasis.
- General weakening of the body caused by serious pathologies - atherosclerosis, liver cirrhosis, diabetes, hypertension, etc.
- Unbalanced diet and alcohol abuse. If a person eats too much fatty, smoked, salty, sweet and spicy foods, the likelihood that they may develop psoriasis increases. Also, in some cases, a prerequisite for the development of the disease is the excessive consumption of chocolate and citrus fruits.
- Hormonal surges caused by serious changes in hormonal levels during menopause, puberty, pregnancy, lactation, after abortion. It is worth noting that the hormonal cause of psoriasis may not be related to the periods indicated above. In this case, we are talking about changing the functioning of the organs of the endocrine system.
- Climate change, living in unfavorable environmental conditions. If a person is prone to psoriasis and moves to a colder area, the disease can worsen significantly. The same applies to staying in areas with highly polluted air and water. However, the climatic factor can hardly be called the root cause of the disease: rather, it acts as a catalyst that activates the "dormant" form of the body's tendency to psoriasis.
How to determine if it is psoriasis: symptoms of the disease
First of all, psoriasis is a skin condition. However, in some, especially severe cases, it can affect not only the skin, but also tendons, internal organs, the spinal column, nail plates and joints. Below we will look at the signs of psoriasis that appear in the first place and allow you to distinguish psoriasis from other skin pathologies.
How does psoriasis start?
On the surface of the skin (most often on the knees, hands, elbows, back, armpits, under the breast, in the region of the sacrum, on the genitals) and sometimes on the mucous membranes, rounded dry reddened areas appear. Initially, their size is relatively small: each papule is only a couple of millimeters in diameter. However, over time, the affected areas increase, the papules merge with each other and form the so-called psoriatic plaques: their diameter reaches 10 cm and even more.
Initially, papules do not cause noticeable discomfort to a person. They practically do not itch or itch. However, over time, as they grow and plaque builds up, the affected areas thicken and rise slightly above the healthy areas of the skin. This phenomenon is accompanied by itching.
A characteristic feature of psoriasis at the initial stage is the formation of small dry scales with a loose structure on the affected areas of the body. Their color ranges from whitish to yellowish-gray, and a thin pinkish-red edge can be seen around each plaque. Outwardly, these zones are a bit like molten paraffin, for which they are called "paraffin lakes".
At first, signs of psoriasis on the skin of the body and face can be confused with manifestations of eczema or other skin pathologies. The stage of psoriasis - the so-called psoriatic triad - helps to pinpoint the type of disease.
- Stearic stain stage. It is characterized by the formation of characteristic stearin-like shavings that appear when the plaque is scraped off.
- Terminal film stage. It appears as a smooth, moist and shiny red surface found under the scales.
- Stage of "blood dew". If a person begins to scrape off the terminal film, small blood droplets form on its surface, caused by pinpoint bleeding. In turn, it is caused by thinning of the vascular network and capillary fragility.
The onset of psoriasis is also accompanied by symptoms that are not related to the skin. Usually, patients complain of increased fatigue, apathy, irritability, drowsiness, mood swings, dizziness, nausea, and sleep problems.
How does psoriasis manifest, other than skin lesions?
This disease affects not only the skin, but also other organs and systems. The following manifestations and forms of psoriasis are distinguished:
- Psoriatic arthritis. In some cases, the lesion is localized not in the upper areas of the skin, but much deeper. As a result, the disease spreads to the joints. The course of the disease is in many ways similar to the development of rheumatoid arthritis, but there are a number of differences between them. For example, in psoriatic arthritis, asymmetric joint damage is usually observed, the greatest peak of discomfort occurs in the morning, but the main difference is that rheumatoid factor is absent in the blood of patients with psoriatic arthritis.
- Muscle damage. If the disease is in an extremely advanced stage, muscle tissue atrophy may occur after cartilage and joint damage.
- Dysfunction of the liver. The task of the liver is to cleanse the blood and remove harmful substances. If in the body there is an increase in the content of toxins, characteristic of psoriasis, the liver suffers from this in the first place.
- The transition of the disease from the skin to the mucous membranes. If the disease is not dealt with, it progresses and passes to the mucous membranes of the cheeks and genitals, to the lips and tongue. The mucous membranes swell, foci of inflammation appear on them, accompanied by desquamation.
- Damage to the nail plates (psoriatic onychodystrophy). Psoriasis affects the nails quite often. The disease manifests itself in the form of thickening of the nail plates on the hands and feet, a change in their color, the appearance of grooves and dots on them. Inflammatory processes affecting the skin around the nails, hemorrhages under the nail plate, dryness, delamination and increased fragility of the nails can also be observed. In especially severe cases, we can talk about complete detachment of the nail and its loss.
As you can see, this disease is quite dangerous, therefore, its treatment should be started as soon as possible in order to prevent its transfer to other organs and systems.
Is psoriasis contagious?
Since the disease is non-infectious and non-viral in nature, it is not contagious at all. The only way of transmission of the disease is a genetic predisposition caused by heredity.
Types of psoriasis
There are several varieties of this disease, each of which has its own characteristics of the course and characteristic symptoms.
- Simple / vulgar / plaque / plaque / common. According to the International Classification of Diseases - prosiasis vulgaris. This form is more common than others: in about 80-90% of cases of the disease, it is about psoriasis vulgaris. It is characterized by the appearance of "paraffin lakes" or psoriatic plaques.
- Inverse (inverse psoriasis). This type of disease mainly affects the folds of the skin, the outer surface of the thighs, the groin area with the external genitals. The main difference between inverse psoriasis and vulgar psoriasis is that with the reverse form of the disease, plaques do not form on the skin: the skin becomes covered with red spots, accompanied by an inflammatory process. The danger of inverse psoriasis is that it progresses with sweat and friction. Due to this, microcracks form on the skin, into which the infection enters. As a result, it can lead to skin lesions with cocci and fungi.
- Drop-shaped (according to ICD - guttate psoriasis). Its difference from other varieties is that the rash with teardrop psoriasis does not combine into large plaques. The patient's body is covered with small spots resembling drops (hence the name of the disease), the color of which varies from pinkish to purple.
- Pustular / exudative. If other types of the disease are characterized by dry areas of the skin, then pustular or exudative psoriasis can be recognized by weeping blisters filled with a clear liquid. In this case, the skin around the blisters usually turns red, the local temperature rises. If the blisters burst or if the patient combs them, there is a danger of infection and subsequent suppuration - this is the main danger of the pustular form of the disease.
- Psoriatic erythroderma. This is one of the most severe forms of the disease, which, if the course is unfavorable, can lead to the death of the patient. Its distinctive feature is skin exfoliation, as a result of which infection with pathogenic microflora can occur. The first sign and symptom of this type of disease - psoriasis manifests itself in the form of severe itching of the skin, small red rashes with white scales, enlarged lymph nodes, swelling of tissues and an increase in overall body temperature to 38-39 degrees. It is divided into generalized and hyperergic types.
- Seborrheic psoriasis. Most often, this type of disease affects the scalp, but in some cases it can involve the nasolabial folds, the skin near the auricles, and the area of the shoulder blades. It is characterized by the appearance of dandruff (when localized on the head), severe itching, and a grayish bloom.
Exacerbation of psoriasis
The disease is characterized by a chronic undulating course with periods of exacerbations and remissions. A decrease in the intensity of symptoms is usually observed during the warm season, while the disease worsens in winter and autumn.
Factors provoking an exacerbation of the disease may be:
- Stress, anxiety.
- Unbalanced work and rest schedule.
- Weakening of the body after suffering an infectious or viral disease.
- A sharp jump in hormones.
- Taking some medications.
- Use of unsuitable cosmetics.
- Skin contact with household chemicals.
- Dysfunction of organ systems.
- Exposure to excessively dry, hot, or cold air.
- Intense personal hygiene is not warranted.
- Insect bites.
- Exacerbation of allergic reactions.
- Wearing tight synthetic clothing.
- Moving to an unusual climate.
Exacerbation of any skin disease (including psoriasis) brings the patient great discomfort - not only physical, but also to a greater extent psychological. The quality of life of a person suffering from severe psoriasis in the acute stage is significantly reduced.
Patients with psoriasis often have significant difficulties and problems with social adaptation, which can negatively affect work / school / personal life. A person refuses contact with others, preferring to spend most of the time alone. As a result, he develops social anxiety, which can develop into serious depression over time.
An exacerbation of the disease can lead to the fact that it becomes difficult for the patient to take care of himself and his loved ones, lead a normal life and even sleep. If the rash is localized in the genital area, they can cause physical and psychological discomfort and cause partners to refuse intimacy.
The severity of the disease
Depending on the area of the affected skin and the spread of the lesion to the joints, nails and internal organs, a mild, moderate and severe form of the disease is emitted.
- The mild form implies minor damage to the skin, when the total area of the lesion is about 3%.
- The defeat of 3 to 10% of human skin is regarded as an average severity of the disease.
- A severe degree means a significant skin lesion - from 10% or more of the total area of the skin.
If a patient is diagnosed with damage to the joints, muscles and internal organs, we are talking about a severe form of the disease, even if there are practically no plaques and papules on the body.
How to eliminate psoriasis: treatment
The question of how to cure psoriasis forever is of concern to all people suffering from this disease. The fight against the external manifestations of the disease gives only a temporary result, therefore, in order for the effect to be long-lasting, it is important to eliminate the causes of psoriasis. This usually takes a lot of time - up to several years. The patient has to be patient, but only in this case he can count on a long-term effect.
Below we look at how to treat psoriasis with medication, hormone therapy, phototherapy, exercise. We also turn to methods of treating psoriasis with folk remedies - in combination with traditional therapy, traditional medicine can give noticeable results.
Treatment of psoriasis with medicines
The first thing to do after you find suspicious round rashes, increased dryness and peeling of the skin in yourself or your loved ones is to seek qualified medical help. Only a dermatologist can determine exactly what kind of skin lesion is taking place in your particular case. Remember: in no case should you self-medicate, since the lack of therapy or self-selected medications can cause serious harm to your health.
There is usually no need for tests or skin tests to diagnose the disease. It is enough for the doctor to see the skin covered with papules or plaques in order to establish the cause of the lesion. If there is a serious form of the disease, the dermatologist can prescribe a referral for tests - general and biochemical studies of blood and urine, and in especially difficult cases, a skin biopsy may also be required. X-rays may also be needed to diagnose psoriatic arthritis.
There are several effective treatments for psoriasis. The choice of the appropriate therapy option depends on the degree of damage to the skin, joints, nails and the intensity of the progression of the disease. Usually, the best option is to opt for a comprehensive treatment regimen that includes the use of local and internal remedies, the use of ultraviolet radiation, bathing in salt and soda baths, and physical therapy.
To eliminate itching and flaking of damaged skin, creams, gels, ointments, sprays and lotions are used. They can be made on the basis of salicylic acid, pyrithione, tar and other active components. The main task of hormonal and non-hormonal external preparations is to soften psoriatic plaques, disinfect, eliminate inflammation, moisturize and nourish the affected skin areas.
In the role of medications taken orally in the treatment of psoriasis in humans, there are drugs based on efalizubam, gamma-D-glutamyl-D-tryptophan sodium, etc.
A positive result in the treatment of psoriasis of the skin gives a rest at the sea. At the same time, it is advisable to choose resorts with a relatively mild and warm climate. The ideal solution is treatment in specialized sanatorium-and-spa establishments, the rest in which is aimed at the complex therapy of psoriasis.
Psoriasis: home treatment
Treatment of psoriasis with home and folk remedies can only be effective if it acts as an adjunctive therapy that complements the main drug treatment. Also, a bet on traditional medicine recipes can be made if the patient has allergic reactions to medicines. But in any case, what to do with psoriasis should be decided by the doctor, so if you want to use this or that folk method, be sure to consult with a dermatologist.
One of the most common traditional medicines for psoriasis is the use of baking soda. Sodium bicarbonate has a softening effect on psoriatic plaques, softens rough skin, reduces itching and improves waste removal. On the basis of soda, homemade ointments, baths are prepared, soda is taken orally, compresses and lotions are made.
Also, salt baths are an effective method of treating the disease. They become a worthy alternative if the patient does not have the opportunity to travel to the sea.
Celandine juice applied to psoriatic plaques also gives positive results. However, you need to remember that this remedy is quite aggressive, so you need to make sure that the juice does not get on healthy areas of the skin.
Walnut shells are also used to combat psoriatic plaques. The shell is poured with boiling water, after which it is insisted, the resulting infusion is filtered and added to a warm bath. This remedy is especially effective during periods of exacerbations of the disease.
How to cure psoriasis with diet?
Adequate nutrition plays an important role in all skin conditions, and psoriasis is no exception. Of course, a balanced diet cannot be a 100% remedy for psoriasis, but in combination with medication and traditional medicine, it gives good results.
During treatment, as well as to prolong the period of remission, doctors recommend giving up alcohol, smoked and salty foods, fatty and spicy foods, the use of artificial flavors, preservatives, emulsifiers and chemical dyes, fatty meats, mayonnaise, ketchup. It is also advisable to reduce the amount of salt, refined sugar, chocolate and other sweets and citrus consumed. Doctors advise focusing on the use of low-fat fermented milk products, plant foods, cereals, lean meats and fish.
Despite the fact that it is advisable to reduce the amount of fat consumed during the diet, it is irrational to completely abandon them. You just need to replace animal fat with vegetable oils - olive, linseed, corn, sunflower.
Prevention of psoriasis
The stages of psoriasis treatment necessarily include a period of remission. It is important to extend these periods as long as possible. To do this, the patient must follow a number of disease prevention rules:
- Avoid stressful situations.
- Eat a balanced diet.
- Refuse to wear tight clothing made of wool and synthetic materials.
- Spend enough time outdoors.
- Ensure adequate rest and adequate sleep.
- Take good care of your skin.