If you suffer from psoriasis, you’ll know how uncomfortable, and sometimes painful, it can be.
It is an immune system disorder that causes redness, irritation and flaky patches of skin. They usually appear on your knees, elbows, back and scalp, but can appear on any part of the body.While most people only suffer from small patches, the affected areas can be itchy or sore in more extreme cases. Scratching them only makes things worse.
The condition affects around two per cent of people in the UK and can start at any age.
If you suffer from a mild case of psoriasis, it can just be a minor irritation. However, it can have a significant impact on your quality of life once it takes hold.
Psoriasis is a chronic condition that can flare up at any time. You may go for long periods without suffering any symptoms, but when it flares up, it can be severe.
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for psoriasis.
However, you can do a few simple things to manage the symptoms of psoriasis at home.
Read on to find out more...
WHAT IS PSORIASIS?
Psoriasis is a chronic, inflammatory skin disorder linked to the immune system.
When it is triggered, your body increases the rate at which it produces and sheds skin cells. Usually, skin cells mature as they move through the layers of skin to the surface, where they are shed. It normally takes around 28 days for each new skin cell to pass through.
However, psoriasis accelerates this process to around four days, which means new cells move towards the skin surface while they are still immature. This causes a build-up of dead skin cells which become dry, flaky and itchy. Blood flow to the skin also increases, resulting in redness and irritation.
Psoriasis is associated with several other health conditions, including arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and obesity. It is also linked with depression.
Although its severity varies from person to person, psoriasis’s common symptoms include red, scaly patches of skin with sharply defined edges. These usually appear on the elbows, knees, scalp, armpits, under breasts, between the buttocks and on your genitals, or at the site of an injury. If the patches are scratched off, it can cause bleeding and irritation. It can also cause loosened, thickened or pitted nails. In more extreme cases, it can lead to tenderness, pain and swelling in the joints and connective tissue. This is known as psoriatic arthritis.
WHAT CAUSES PSORIASIS?
Psoriasis is not infectious or contagious. Nor is it the result of poor hygiene.
It tends to run in families, although the exact way in which it passes from generation to generation has not yet been established.
What is known, however, is that both genetics and the immune system contribute to the development of psoriasis. The immune system protects your body against disease and infection. If you suffer from psoriasis, it attacks healthy skin cells by mistake. Many people’s symptoms start or worsen because of a specific event, known as a trigger.
Stress, infection, skin injuries and reacting to certain medications can all trigger bouts of psoriasis. Environmental and emotional factors can also play a part. So too can certain lifestyle choices, including smoking and excess alcohol consumption.
WHAT ARE THE BEST HOME REMEDIES FOR PSORIASIS?
While there is no known cure for psoriasis, there are a few things you can do at home to manage the condition and ease the symptoms when they flare-up. These include:
Strengthen your immune system
Prevent dry skin
Watch what you eat
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