CONDITIONS A-Z

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a common skin condition where the skin cells replace themselves too quickly. About 3% of people will suffer from psoriasis at some point in their lives.

Psoriasis Overview

Psoriasis can start at any age but usually between the age of 11 and 45 and most often at puberty.

The main symptom of psoriasis is grey or silvery flaky patches on the skin which are red and inflamed underneath. The areas of the body most commonly affected are the scalp, elbows, knees, navel, palms, ears and groin. Many people who suffer from psoriasis also suffer from psoriatic arthritis which is similar to rheumatoid arthritis.

Psoriasis is autoimmune in origin and is not contagious. The severity of psoriasis varies greatly from person to person. Some people may have only one or two small patches while others may have large areas of the skin affected and in the most severe cases psoriasis can have a significant effect on quality of life.

The exact cause of psoriasis is not known and although there is no cure, there are many treatments than can help manage outbreaks. Psoriasis is a chronic condition that can flare up at anytime, there may be times when no symptoms are present and other times when symptoms can be mild to severe.

Psoriasis treatments include:

  • emollients,

  • skin softeners,

  • topical drug therapy,

  • tar preparations,

  • steroids.

  • Ultraviolet B light therapy

  • Systemic medication and biologics designed to block specific molecules in the immune system that trigger psoriasis can be used under specialist medical supervision.

As well as medical treatments there are a number of things that you can do to help prevent psoriasis from flaring up.

  • Reduce your intake of meat, animal fats, sugar and alchahol and increase intake of fibre, fruit, vegetables, cooked dried beans and peas, nuts and seeds,

  • Eat more oily fish, particularly mackerel, sardines, herring and salmon.

  • An oatmeal bath can help to soothe irritated skin. Put 1kg of oatmeal in cheesecloth bags in a hot bath and soak for about 15 minutes. Apply your treatments afterwards.

  • Exercise can help reduce stress which can be a contributing factor.

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