Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments for Psoriasis

Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments for PsoriasisPsoriasis defined as a chronic skin disorder that commonly affects 1% to 3% of the world’s population.  Psoriasis is characterized by periodic flare-ups of red patched covered by a silvery and flakey scale typically on the scalp.

There are several variations of psoriasis, but the most common plaque psoriasis, but the exact cause of psoriasis is unknown.  It is believed that a combination of several factors contribute to the development of psoriasis.

There is currently no cure for psoriasis and the existing treatments available are aimed at controlling the symptoms of the disease rather than curing it.  Treatment options available for psoriasis range from topical therapies to phototherapy and systemic therapy for the more severe cases of the disease.

All of these treatment options are considered by psoriasis patients to have several drawbacks in terms of convenience, safety, or effectiveness.  The advent of new biological therapies may potentially offer patients suffering from psoriasis hope of long term treatment which is safer than the current available options.

Topical therapies have remained the mainstay of treatment for many patients suffering with mild psoriasis.  Topical treatments work relatively quickly at clearing lesions and are typically well tolerated by the majority of psoriasis sufferers.  However, topical treatments must be used repeatedly to remain effective and are often not able to maintain remission of an outbreak.

Dithranol is a topical therapy which has been used often to treat psoriasis.  It can be effective for mild to moderate psoriasis and is often used with ultraviolet treatments for patients with more severe psoriasis.  There are some key issues which limit the use of Dithranol as it can cause irritation and burning to the skin and tends to stain anything it comes in contact with.

Weather is another strong factor in triggering psoriasis.  Exposure to direct sunlight tends to help improve psoriasis, but cold and shorter days, as seen in the winter months, can trigger the rash to worsen.  Psychological stress has been a common trigger for psoriasis flares, but studies are still unclear as to why this occurs.

Daily hassles of everyday life can trigger a flare as well, which is understandably frustrating for those who suffer from psoriasis.  Low levels of calcium have also been reported to trigger a psoriasis flare up, but low levels of vitamin D do not trigger a flare up.

Studies have also shown that a healthy diet and lifestyle benefits everyone, especially those who suffer from psoriasis.  There is no specific diet to follow, but there is evidence that proves that certain foods contribute to improving the skin condition.  It is helpful for patients to eat only what makes them feel the most healthy.  Dietary supplements encompass vitamins, herbal products, and minerals and usually benefit the entire body.

However, there is no evidence that a particular supplement is a cure for psoriasis. In fact, there is a risk that certain dietary supplements, including multivitamins, could potentially interfere with prescription medications and patients should discuss with their before starting any new supplements.

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Originally posted 2008-11-12 13:38:21.

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