There are a lot of posts expressing confusion, frustration and hopelessness. There are a great many misconceptions about Psoriasis. It may be easier to handle Psoriasis if you understand precisely what it is and why it does what it does.
Psoriasis is one symptom of a systemic inflammatory disorder. It is the result of your body not taking the correct action in healing a rash or an agitated joint.
In a systemic inflammatory disorder, the body is stuck in a state of inflammation. Because of the steady signal of inflammation, a simple rash will not heal properly.
Eventually, the body will detect that there is non-healing rash present. It sends a signal to the bone-marrow. (The bone-marrow produces cells that can become any type) From that point on, the bone-marrow sends skin cells to those rash-prone areas which are of a different cell type.
These cells are tougher and more resistant to infection and scar-formation. They are the same cells found in the roof of your mouth.
The body uses this strategy for overall protection. This phenomenon of changing cell-type is called metaplasia. This is why there are no scars when psoriasis plaques go away.
To find the cause, we have to trace the chain all the way back. As stated, persistent inflammatory disorder is a condition in which the body is continually responding to inflammation. The immune system is overworked, overloaded and, in the case of psoriasis, these conditions allow for rashes to form easily and become plaques.
The goal is to eliminate the source of inflammation. As mentioned in these forums, a number of individuals have found that what they were eating was causing the inflammation.
Others have found it was stagnation (lack of exercise) dehydration or stress. Others have it for reasons which are purely genetic.
Here is a list of some of the tried and true methods of treatment.
1. Aquaphor - This ointment and others like it have succeeded in eliminating plaques, but must be continually applied.
2. Steroidal - These work well too, also in combination with the former.
3. Methotrexate - Cheap immunomodulator which decreases the effectiveness of your immune system. The plaque/arthitis symptoms fade.
4. Humira - Expensive immunomodulator which decreases the amount of one of the tumor-killing cell types in the body.
5. Organic Food - Other evidence suggests that persistent inflammatory disorder is caused by a diet full of additives, chemicals, hormones and industrial fillers. Some have found that switching to a 'whole food' diet has helped.
6. Avoid wheat & milk - Many people with psoriasis have 'anti-gliadins'. These are specialized immune-system antibodies which perceive wheat as an intruder. Certainly, an intolerance to wheat will lead to a persistent-inflammatory disorder, because wheat is present in nearly everything we eat. Milk intolerance or allergy is also prevalent in those with psoriasis, especially those with arthritis.
7. Core strengthening - Many have attested to an improvement in symptoms through exercise of core muscles. Strengthening the abdominal muscles will strengthen intestine walls. In one model of gluten-mediated inflammation, weak intestine walls were found to lead to prolonged inflammation.
8. Anti-inflammatory supplements - There is no shortage of pills and herbs marketed towards those with psoriasis. The results vary from person to person. Vitamin D3, Krill Oil and Turmeric to name a few. There are dozens of herbs too, but it is important to research the side-effects. There is also Naproxen and Ibuprofen. But be wary of snake oil.
9. Water, oil and light - Remaining hydrated, keeping plaques moisturized and not living in a cave will have a beneficial effect.
10. Scratching is bad - Perhaps the most important, but overlooked problem is that scratching leads to profound relief. Depending on how long you've had Psoriasis, your scratching may have become an intensely pleasurable ritual. Those histamines being released are the culprit. Scratching is how the rash spreads. Scratching also reinforces the link your brain has made with the presence of the disease being pleasurable. Soon the boundaries of the plaque are expanded. Your brain begins to make the assumption that the disease is a good thing.
Be assiduous in your quest to control the disease. Apply ointments and creams as often as you have to. And remember that the disease has a mind of its own. You may have become conditioned to support and maintain the symptoms.
Lastly, understand it is not a disease. It is a symptom of a persistent inflammatory disorder. Although there are no statistics, you can bet that a great many people have a persistent inflammatory disorder, but have no symptoms of plaques or swollen joints.
Those with psoriasis/arthritis are different only in that they can see or feel the symptoms of it. Do not feel like a freak. The symptoms are your body's way of telling you there is a problem.
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Edited January 31, 2013 at 9:45 am