Psoriasis is a treatable condition

 

But finding the right treatment for you can be tricky

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Did you know August is Psoriasis Awareness Month? Psoriasis is a skin condition that is visually dry, itchy and scaly, and it is very common. More than three million cases are diagnosed in the U.S. per year.

Medical science says that it cannot be cured, but treatment may help. A diagnosis must be done medically. Psoriasis is a chronic disease that can last for years if not a lifetime.

Considered an immune system problem, psoriasis triggers include infections, stress and cold. The most common symptom is a rash on the skin, but sometimes the rash involves the nails or joints.

On the skin one will notice rashes, dryness, flakiness, peeling, small bumps, thickness, and/or redness. Other common symptoms of psoriasis are depression, inflamed tendons, itching, joint stiffness, plaque, or small dents in nails

On their website, the National Psoriasis Foundation states that a predisposition to the condition is in human genes and about 10 percent of the population has the gene, but only two or three percent of the population actually develops the disease. Two other related diseases are dermatitis, which is a rash caused by contact with a specific substance, and lichen planus, an inflammatory condition of the skin and mucous membranes.

Frankie Smith, a Minneapolis resident, lives with the disease lichen planus. She tells MSR, “I have been dealing with [lichen planus] since I was a teenager. It is very similar to psoriasis. My mother dealt with the same symptoms through her 20s and 30s.

“It can be bumpy and itchy, weepy of fluids, painful, and can leave extreme scarring after itching and scratching. Over the years, my doctors told me it is an immune system disease that can be triggered by anything a person may be allergic to.”

There are various treatments that can be employed singly or in combination. Medical choices, which include topical ointments, light therapy, and medications, can offer relief. Treatment aims to remove scales and bumps and stop skin cells from growing so quickly by modifying or simulating hormone effects, often to reduce inflammation or for tissue regrowth and repair.

Other treatments can be made naturally. It is possible to treat psoriasis and similar diseases through the reduction of dairy and wheat in your diet. One can also use topical treatments such as a combination of coconut oil, olive oil, and grapeseed oil or sunflower oil.

Shanda Bremer, another local resident, treats her son’s psoriasis naturally. “I buy a combination of natural oils and it relieves the condition. It does not cure it, but it makes his skin so much more healed and less inflamed and irritated,” she said.

Smith chose to change her eating habits. “After my mother and I tried topical ointments and light treatments, which made my skin peel like a snake, I chose to do my own research, and I decided to eliminate wheat and reduce my dairy intake,” she stated.

According to Psoriasis.com, other topical treatments include: Triamcinolone Acetonide, which can treat inflammation and Betamethasone to help with inflammation. Vitamin A derivatives are also used to unplug blocked hair follicles, prevent new blockages from forming, and help slow skin cell growth. Aceitretin treats severe psoriasis, along with Tazarotene to help with psoriasis and acne.

Salicylic Acid and Anthralin act as an anti-inflammatory to prevent and/or counteract swelling in tissues and joints. There are immunosuppressive drugs that help reduce the immune system’s response to the gene. Cyclosporine, taken orally, and Tacrolimus used topically are immunosuppressive drugs.

Finding what is best in dealing with psoriasis for you or a loved one involves trial and error. Smith says, “I have tried almost everything. I was told this would work and that would work. But, it was not until I decided to do my own research, find, contain and eliminate symptoms specific to me [that] I was then able to develop a system I could live with.”

If you know someone dealing with symptoms of psoriasis, there is probably a suitable treatment. It may take a lot of hard work and research with the help of a medical professional, but you can do it.

Smith also added, “Be sure to be open and have honest dialogue with your medical professionals. They may not know all the answers, but they can definitely lead you on the right path of finding what is best for you.”

“Listen to your body,” she continued. “If you are having symptoms, something is going haywire in your immune system and needs to be addressed immediately.”

In short, psoriasis is treatable, and seeking help from a medical professional or holistic health expert is critical in living an itch-free, bump-free, non-irritated life.

 

Brandi D. Phillips welcomes reader responses to bphillips@spokesman-recorder.com.