Parkland Press

Monday, December 9, 2019

Healthy Geezer: Recommended treatments for psoriasis

Friday, November 15, 2019 by FRED CICETTI Special to The Press in Focus

Q. Is there any cure for psoriasis?

There’s no cure for psoriasis, but there are many ways to get relief from the symptoms of this troublesome disease.

Psoriasis is one of the most common skin ailments. More than 125 million people throughout the world have psoriasis. The chronic disorder affects people of all ages. Psoriasis seems to be inherited.

Psoriasis causes skin redness and irritation that can appear anywhere on the body. Most people with psoriasis have thick, red skin with flaky, silver-white patches. It is not contagious.

Psoriasis is the most common autoimmune disease. Researchers think it probably occurs when the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells, mistaking them for dangerous substances. Up to one-third of those with psoriasis may also have arthritis, an autoimmune disease; this is called “psoriatic arthritis.”

In many cases, psoriasis goes away and then flares up again. The triggers that bring on psoriasis include: stress, dry air, infections, skin injuries, certain medicines, too much or too little sun, cold weather, drinking too much alcohol and smoking.

If you have a weakened immune system, you can suffer more from psoriasis. A weakened immune system comes with rheumatoid arthritis, chemotherapy and AIDS.

There are a variety of psoriasis types, including:

Plaque. This is the most common type of psoriasis. This produces thick, red patches of skin covered by flaky, silver-white scales.

Erythrodermic. This is the least common type of psoriasis. The skin redness is very intense and can cover your entire body with a red, peeling rash that can itch or burn intensely.

Guttate. This affects people younger than 30 and is usually triggered by a bacterial infection such as strep throat. It’s marked by small sores on the trunk, arms, legs and scalp.

Inverse. The symptoms of inverse psoriasis include skin redness and irritation in the armpits, groin, and in between overlapping skin. It’s more common in overweight people and is worsened by friction and sweating.

Pustular. This is an uncommon type of psoriasis that can occur in large patches. It generally develops pus-filled blisters after your skin becomes red and tender.

Nail. The nails of fingers and toes become pitted. They can grow abnormally with discoloration. Psoriatic nails may become loose and fall off.

Scalp. Psoriasis on the scalp appears as red, itchy areas with silvery-white scales. If you scratch your scalp, flakes of dead skin fall to your shoulders.

There are three basic methods for treating psoriasis: topical medications, internal medications and phototherapy.

Most cases of psoriasis are treated with medications that are placed directly on the skin. These include: creams and ointments, dandruff shampoos, moisturizers, medicines containing vitamin D or vitamin A.

Severe psoriasis may be treated with medicine to suppress the body’s immune response. These include methotrexate or cyclosporine. New drugs called “biologics” are used to specifically target the body’s immune response. These include Adalimumab (Humira), Etanercept (Enbrel) and Infliximab (Remicade).

Phototherapy is a medical treatment in which your skin is carefully exposed to ultraviolet light.

Home remedies include oatmeal baths that soothe and loosen scales, moderate sun exposure, and relaxation techniques such as meditation to relieve stress.

Have a question? Email: fred@healthygeezer.com. Order “How To Be A Healthy Geezer,” 218-page compilation of columns: healthygeezer.com

All Rights Reserved © 2019 Fred Cicetti

The Times News, Inc., and affiliates (Lehigh Valley Press) do not endorse or recommend any medical products, processes, or services or provide medical advice. The views of the columnist and column do not necessarily state or reflect those of the Lehigh Valley Press. The article content is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.