Psoriasis is a dreadful skin condition which is reported has prevalence between 0.09% and 11.43% which has affected at least 100 million populations worldwide. Psoriasis has no cure but the disease can be managed.
What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition which is an autoimmune condition that happens due to rapid build of skin cells. The extra cells formed on the skin appear like red patchy scales and is painful. Psoriasis treatment focus on correcting lifestyle measures, food habits, and managing stress. The psoriatic scales typically flare upon the joints such as elbow and knees, hands, feet, neck, scalp and face.
The exact cause for psoriasis is still unknown. However doctors believe a compromised immune system or genetics might be the probable causes.
- Psoriasis is listed under an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune diseases occur when the body’s immune system attacks the cells. In this scenario, T-cells (white blood cells) attack the skin cells.
In normal condition, white blood cells are deployed to attack or destroy the bacteria and fight the infections. In this mistaken attack, the skin cells are over produced and pushed to the skin surface which piles up. These attacks may result in red inflamed areas over the skin surface.
- Genetic factors also contribute to the birth of psoriasis. Some individuals inherit genes from the family end up to show the symptoms of psoriatic lesions.
- Individuals suffering anxiety, inflammatory bowel diseases, heart diseases, psoriatic arthritis and type 2 diabetes are other health conditions that may trigger.
Psoriasis is mainly 5 types
◘ Plaque psoriasis
This is the most common type of psoriasis. The skin turns red and inflamed patches that cover the areas of the skin. The patches appear like whitish-silver scales or like plaque. These lesions are mainly found on elbow, knees and scalp.
◘ Guttate psoriasis
Guttate psoriasis results in pink spots which commonly appear in childhood. The symptoms flare up on the torso, arms and legs. The lesions are generally not thick.
◘ Pustular psoriasis
Pustular psoriasis is seen more often in adults. It appears as pus-filled blisters, broad areas of redness in smaller areas of the body, like hands and feet. The symptoms can also be widespread in the body.
◘ Inverse psoriasis
Inverse psoriasis results in bright areas of redness, shiny and inflamed skin. The patches of inverse psoriasis are widely seen under the armpits or breasts, in the groin, or around skinfolds in the genitals.
◘ Erythrodermic psoriasis
Erythrodermic psoriasis is the rarest of all types but it is very severe in its symptoms. This kind of psoriasis covers large section of the body. The scales appears like sunburned. They often tend to get fever and become very ill. Many times the symptoms are life threatening.
The most common symptoms are –
• Reddish inflamed patches of skin
• Dry skin with cracked appearance and often bleeding
• Soreness around the patches
• Itching and burning sensation experienced around the patches
• Painful and swollen joints
• Thick and Pitted nails
It is not necessary for all patients to go through these symptoms; it may vary from person to person. Psoriasis is not a contagious disease. The disease wont be transferred to another person by touch or contact.
Ayurveda explains psoriasis under Kushta roga (Skin diseases). Psoriasis is caused due to vitiation of the 2 doshas – vata and kapha.
Ayurveda explains the cause of skin diseases as –
• Intake of incompatible foods like fish and milk
• Physical exertion of the body in excess heat or taking heavy meal in hot climate
• Exposing the body to hot and cold climate or things simultaneously Eg: Drinking extreme cold water after exposure of scorching sun.
• Excess intake of food prepared with fresh grains, curd, fish, salt and sour substances
• Indulging in sexual activity soon after having food or in a state of indigestion
• Day sleep
• Mental disturbances or stress can contribute to the symptoms
Psoriasis treatment in Ayurveda suggests a complete cleansing to the body. Snehana (internal and external), followed by Shodhana (Vamana and Virechana) are recommended in Ayurveda. After shodhana karma, internal medicines along with Takradhara are to be followed. The psoriatic lesions should always be well moisturised with creams or aloe vera gel.
• Vegetables: Carrot, Squash, Pumpkin, Carrot, beans, Cucumber, bitter gourd, matured ash gourd, Black, kidney and pinto beans
• Grains: Whole grains, such as barley, bran flakes, oatmeal, and brown rice, old rice
• Fruits Blueberries, Avocados
• Spices: Coriander, Ginger, Garlic, Pepper, Methi seeds
• Nuts: Almonds, cashews, raisins, walnuts, Flax seeds, Pistachios
• Buttermilk for daily consumption
• Excessive intake junk, oily, spicy, dry, heavy food
• Excessive use of tea, coffee etc.
• Intake of animal fat, processed/oily food items.
• Alcohol consumption and smoking.