Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Relation between Psoriasis & health

Know more about the impact of Psoriasis on the health, and the importance of diagnosis & management of Psoriasis with Dr. Sushil Tahiliani

Published: Feb 23, 2021 04:03:10 PM IST
Updated: Feb 23, 2021 04:14:15 PM IST

Relation between Psoriasis & health
What is Psoriasis?   

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes people to develop thick patches of inflamed skin covered with silvery scales. With Psoriasis immune system becomes overactive and attacks healthy cells in the body.     

Psoriasis is characterized by skin cells that multiply up to 10 times faster than normal. When these cells reach the surface and die, raised, red plaques form that are covered with white scales. Psoriasis begins as a small scaling papule. When multiple papules coalesce, they form scaling plaques. These plaques tend to occur in the scalp, elbows, and knees.  

How is Psoriasis diagnosed?    

Diagnosis of Psoriasis is done by Physical examination & Skin Biopsy   

Physical Examination – A dermatologist examines your skin and notes the location, distribution, size, shape, and appearance of lesions. During a physical exam, he or she may also ask about your symptoms and medical history, including whether someone else in your family has been diagnosed with psoriasis.  

Skin Biopsy - Most of the time, dermatologist can diagnose Psoriasis just by examining skin. But if he or she needs more information to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other causes of symptoms, such as eczema or cutaneous lupus, a skin biopsy may be performed.

A biopsy is a test in which a pathologist examines skin cells under a microscope to determine whether Psoriasis is the cause of symptoms. Dermatologists perform a punch biopsy. The “punch” name describes the technique: doctor uses a device the size and shape of a pencil to puncture the skin and remove a small tissue sample. The round incision is closed with one or two stitches.

The results of a skin biopsy are available in about a week. 

Issued in Public Interest by Oaknet Healthcare

What are the causes of Psoriasis?   

The causes of Psoriasis are unknown; basically it is an outcome of certain environmental factors acting on individuals, especially in certain people with a specific genetic predisposition. It leads to immune dysregulation and abnormal keratinization which in turn results in the appearance of cutaneous lesions. Genetic predisposition has a significant role in Psoriasis.   

Genetics is believed to play an important role in the development of Psoriasis. Studies have shown many different genes are linked to the development of Psoriasis. It's likely that different combinations of genes may make people more vulnerable to the condition. A mutation known as CARD14 is believed to be strongly linked to plaque and pustular Psoriasis, as well as a related disorder known as Psoriatic arthritis.  

T-cells normally travel through the body to detect and fight invading germs such as bacteria, but in people with psoriasis they start to attack healthy skin cells. This causes the deepest layer of skin to produce new skin cells more quickly than usual, which in turn triggers the immune system to produce more T-cells.        

Any infection can cause Psoriasis to appear. This is especially true with guttate Psoriasis which almost always follows an infection, especially a strep infection.  

Any sort of trauma or injury to the skin such as cut, scrape, surgical wound, tattoo, burn, insect bite or sunburn can cause a flare. This is known as the Koebner phenomenon, a reaction that occurs along a line of a skin trauma  

Smoking can also cause Psoriasis as it affects the onset of psoriasis and its clinical appearance. 

Alcohol worsens pre-existing Psoriasis.   

Obese patients are also more likely to present with severe Psoriasis.     

Stress plays a significant role in the development of Psoriasis. Emotional stress may influence the development and exacerbation of Psoriasis.  

Certain prescription medications (such as lithium and beta blockers) can also cause Psoriasis  

What are essential steps required to be taken for the management of Psoriasis?      

  • Consume lot of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and avoid saturated and Trans fats, refined carbohydrate and processed foods. Dietary supplementation with oily fish such as mackerel, salmon, sardine or herring, might be a useful addition in the treatment.  
  • Always keep skin lubricated as it helps in preventing or worsening dry, itchy skin caused by a Psoriasis flare-up. It also reduces redness and heals the skin, making flare-up easier to manage.  
  • Prefer daily sunbathing, sea-bathing and UV exposure as it improves Psoriasis
  • Reduce stress 
  • Quit smoking & drinking
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