Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic skin disorder that causes skin cells to multiply up to 10 folds faster than average. Such a fluctuation makes the skin turn bumpy red with plaques of thick and scaly skin. Psoriasis can show skin disorder almost everywhere, but it appears mainly in the scalp, knee, elbows, and lower back.

Being an autoimmune (immunity against healthy organs) disease, the inflammation caused in the body in the form of rough skin patches is non-transferable in nature. However, some rare cases of genetic psoriasis can be observed as the autoimmune condition continues in the family hierarchy.

 

It is usually seen in adulthood and is expected to last not more than a couple of years. If severe, it may last for the rest of the life and would redevelop in other parts of the body and might spread to a larger scale. Although skin tissues of hands, feet, neck, and scalp are most prone to this disorder, however, some less common cases show psoriasis effect in nails, mouth, and the area around reproductive glands.

 

As per a study conducted in North America, approximately 7.4 million Americans have been affected with psoriasis and were commonly caused due by the following factors:

  • Diabetic disorder
  • Inflammatory condition
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

 

Although the study was conducted in the west, several known health officials in India agree to the fact that similar patterns of psoriasis causes are observed here as well. Psoriasis is complex and dynamic for its growth patterns and diagnostic difficulties.

Types of Psoriasis

Plaque Psoriasis

  • It is the most common type of psoriasis found. The usual inflammatory marks of bumpy redness on the scalp, knee, hand, and elbow are observed in this type. As several studies concluded, almost 80% of the population who suffered psoriasis has been covered with this type. It is an adulthood autoimmune condition with whitish-silver plaques on the skin.

 

Guttate Psoriasis

  • This type of psoriasis is commonly seen in childhood and shows small skin spots on the torso, arms, and legs. Although thick plaques on the skin aren’t observed as seen in plaque psoriasis, however, minimal spots can be viewed in different parts of the body at the same time.

 

Pustular Psoriasis

  • Such a type is commonly seen in adults and shows white, pus-filled blisters and broad areas of red, inflamed skin. Small body parts like ha
  • nds and feet are most prone to this disease, but widespread skin disorders can also be viewed sometimes.

 

Inverse Psoriasis

  • The differentiating factor about this type is the bright red, skinny, and inflamed skin. The patches of inverse psoriasis are observed under armpits and breasts and have the potential to spread elsewhere as well.

 

Erythrodermic Psoriasis

  • This is the most unique and severe type of psoriasis as the skin almost looks burned and has the capacity for widespread inflammation. The patients dealing with this type are commonly affected by fever and other infectious viral.

 

Symptoms of Psoriasis

 

  • Psoriasis differs from individual to individual on the basis of its type and the area covered, ranging from a few flakes to the whole body being affected.
  • Following are some common symptoms observed:
  • Red, thick and inflamed skin
  • Whitish-silver plaques of scales on the skin
  • Dryness in the skin and swollen throat
  • Burned like skin patches
  • Small flakes of pink spots
  • Thick and pitted nails
  • Swollen joints
  • It isn’t mandatory that everyone will observe the above-stated symptoms. Psoriasis can be dynamic and uniquely severe for severe individuals, but the presence of autoimmune and inflammatory conditions seem to be common in all cases.

 

What causes Psoriasis:

  • A few decades ago, doctors and medical experts were unsure of the reasons that cause psoriasis. But thanks to recent development in this regard, we have two fundamental causes:

 

Immune System

  • Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that triggers inflammatory skin disorders in different parts of our body. An autoimmune condition is a case where our body’s immunity counters healthy organs and makes the white blood cells mistakenly attack skin cells.
  • Generally, the white blood cells are responsible for attacking and destroying attacking bacteria and covering the depleted cells in that area. When the same mechanism works for an inflamed area, the skin cells multiply and form scales of thick skin.

 

Genetic Disorder

  • As per studies concluded, the genetic inheritance with respect to psoriasis is evident to occur in just 2-3% of patients. If you are the immediate member of the elder in your family who’s suffering from psoriasis, there are high chances that you will be affected with the same.

 

Diagnostic Tests

  • There are primarily two kinds of diagnosis available for psoriasis:
  • Physical Examination
  • In most cases, if the inflammatory patches appear on body parts like the scalp, knee, elbow, ear, belly button, and nails, the doctor is most likely able to determine the presence. It is so as the area affected and the scaly plaques developed on the skin gives a clear indication of this autoimmune condition. Make sure you are comfortable to show all areas of concern as this will bring more clarity to the doctor, and following this, there will be an easement in your treatment.

 

Lab Tests

If, in some cases, it becomes difficult for your doctor to determine if there is a presence of psoriasis or not, having a biopsy lab test for the affected skin patch would be an apt solution. A tiny fraction of skin tissue extracted will be sent for a lab test where all possibilities of skin infections can be examined. Having been injected with a numbing medication to make this process less painful for you, this type of diagnosis will provide accurate results.

 

Treatment of Psoriasis

  • The kind of treatment involved differs based on the size of the patch, the area infected, the patient’s age and other health concerns, and the duration of the autoimmune condition.
  • Your doctor will select the treatment plan accordingly.

 

Following are a couple of common ways used for treating psoriasis:

  • Topical Medications
  • This type of treatment is usually used for less intense cases of psoriasis and helps in slowing down the growing symptoms. These include:
  • Steroid Creams
  • Moisturizer for dry and scratchy skin
  • Cool Tar – a common treatment used to heal scalp patches
  • Vitamin D rich cream and ointments
  • Light Therapy
  • This sort of treatment uses ultraviolet lights to shine over the infected area and helps in slowing down the rate of cell formation. Since psoriasis is evidently an autoimmune condition, this therapy helps in reducing the white blood cells attacking the affected area. PUVA (photochemotherapy) is used in medicine called psoralen with a special form of ultraviolet light.

 

Medicinal Supplementations

  • Either you have a moderate to intense case of psoriasis or other forms of treatments that have been failing to heal or both, your doctor may advise you to take some oral or injected medication. Following are commonly advised medications:

 

  • Retinoids – These are used to reduce the symptoms temporarily. Once you stop taking these, the inflammatory condition may rise again. Hair loss and inflammation in lips are common side effects. Women associated with pregnancy in the current stage or within the next three years are not advised to take this supplement.

 

  • Biologic treatment – These kinds of drugs reduce your body’s overall immunity to reduce the rising autoimmune condition during psoriasis.

 

  • Cyclosporine – Similar to the class of biological medications, this drug also helps in reducing the immunity levels of your body. Unlike biological treatment. Cyclosporine drug is more intense and may cause sickness for a few days or a week. Some kidney problems and high blood pressure are common side effects.

 

  • Apremilast – It’s a new form of drug that acts as an enzyme inhibitor to reduce the possibility of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis in the long run. It is an oral medication that controls the spread of a specific enzyme responsible for slowing the potential spread of inflammation.

 

Dietary Changes

  • There is no evidence that adding nutritious foods to your diet will completely eradicate the effects of psoriasis, but having some healthy alterations can prevent the possible spread and reduce the symptoms. Following are some advised recommendations:
  • Eating less caloric food as compared to your BMR
  • Fiber-rich foods
  • Multivitamin tablets
  • Avoid triggering foods such as red meat, refined sugar, and processed foods
  • Reduction in intoxication

 

Conclusive Statistics

  • At least 5% of the global population suffers from psoriasis once in their lifetime.
  • As per WHO, approximately 75% of the people affected with psoriasis are in the age limit of 20 – 45.
  • People with intense conditions of psoriasis will likely develop type 2 diabetes, kidney dysfunction, heart problems, and high blood pressure.
  • The relieving fact is that in maximum cases of psoriasis, the given advanced cures are able to successfully treat various kinds of psoriasis.
  • Genetic transfer of psoriasis is as rare as less than 1%

 

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Vitiligo

Vitiligo is a rare skin disorder that causes loss of skin color infraction of patches. It is a long-term disease and the smooth white spots formed are due to the absence of melanocytes. These melanocytes or the skin cells that produce melanin are destroyed by the body’s immune system or the so-called autoimmune condition.

Vitiligo is not so rare but rare to be found as approximately 2% of the total population, and an estimated 2 to 5 million suffer from it. Also, if the spot is less than 5mm, it will be termed as macules and patches for the spot greater than that. 

Vitiligo is expected to start showing its effects from an early age of 10 and, in most cases, fully developed until the age of 40. There is no evident proof that vitiligo follows a genetic transmission, but nearly around 30% of the affected patients have a family member with this disease. 

 

How does vitiligo progress?

Vitiligo often starts with a few small patches that may spread over large body parts within the course of a few months. It usually begins on hands, forearms, feet, and face but has the capacity to spread to any part of the body, including the inner ear and genitals. In severe types, the patch spreads to a larger area and is able to grow every year. However, in most cases, the same patch developed at an early age remains stuck for a lifetime. Luckily, it is not a transmissible disease, and hence, you cannot catch it from someone else. 

What are the types of vitiligo?

On the basis of the size, color, location, and duration of the white patch, vitiligo can be divided into a few types. Determining your type will lead the way to proper diagnosis, treatment, and medications for the same. 

  • Generalized – This is the most common type of vitiligo. It is when patches of macules size appear on different parts of the body. 
  • Segmental – This is the type where the body part affected with this autoimmune condition is restricted to one part only, such as hands and face. 
  • Mucosal – This affects the mucous membranes of the mouths and/or genitals. 
  • Focal – It’s a rare condition where patches of macules size appear at one focal point only and do not spread elsewhere. 
  • Trichrome– In this type, a rare combination of completely white, semi-patched skin and regular skin is seen. It usually occurs at the same place. 
  • Universal – It’s a quite rare and severe case of vitiligo where almost 80% or more of the body is covered with smooth white patches. 

Vitiligo Diagnosis 

If not detected via a physical examination which is most commonly used, your doctor may ask you for a skin test and even a blood test in some cases. There are two kinds of diagnosis for skin: 

  • Skin Biopsy – A sample of your skin is sent for a laboratory test
  • Wood’s lamp test – In this, the use of ultraviolet light is used to scan the details of your skin. 

 

What causes Vitiligo?

Although it’s still not quite clear as to what causes vitiligo it is evidently understood that the existence of an autoimmune condition can be observed. This causes loss of melanin (originally produced from melanocytes) which is responsible for giving color to the skin. Following are a couple of distinguished reasons that causes vitiligo: 

Autoimmunity – As discussed in the above paragraph, vitiligo is considered to be an autoimmune condition. This condition can be the root cause for the general type of vitiligo, which is the most commonly seen. This causes the immunity of our body to attack the melanocyte skin cells, which reduces the amount of melanin to form smooth white patches. 

Genetic Factor – Although there isn’t any evidence that proves that vitiligo can pass from someone’s heir, it is studied that somewhere 30% of the individuals affected have one or more family members suffering from this disease. 

Neurogenic Aspect – A substance or an enzyme that is toxic to melanocytes may be released from the nerve endings in the skin. 

Self-destruction – An injury caused that destroys melanocytes to some extent can be one of the common causes. 

Melanoma – It is a type of skin cancer and can also be termed as Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Having this severe skin disease can also lead to an autoimmune condition and may cause loss of melanin. 

Chemical Exposure – Sunburn or some sort of chemical attack on the skin also makes the melanin lose from melanocytes. 

 

What are the symptoms of Vitiligo? 

Following are the signs and symptoms that will depict whether you are inheriting vitiligo or have been suffering from it:  

  1. White and smooth patches observed on the skin are usually the common signs depicting vitiligo. The size of the spots can range from small spots termed as macules and patches for wide skin textures. 
  2. Such patches are most commonly seen in body parts like hands, feet, armpits, and face. In rare instances, the skin of the inner ear, eyes, and genital areas are also affected. 
  3. If affected in the areas around your scalp, the color of hair will turn white and grey as well. 

 

Treatment

There’s no absolute fix for vitiligo, but you can definitely improve the skin tone and bring uniformity in your skin color. A couple of kinds of therapies, surgery, and some home remedies are common references for treating vitiligo: 

Camouflage Therapy – It is recommended to use sunscreen with SPF 30 or above, and the same should also shield the skin from ultraviolet A and B lights. The use of sunscreen will help in normalizing the skin tone against the odds of tannin and sunburn. If the area around the scalp is affected, the use of hair dyes can be experimented. 

Light Therapy – In this therapy, UVA and UVB lights are used to treat the small patches of vitiligo and demand 2 to 3 sessions per week for several months. This therapy works the best for people suffering from small and segmented patches. 

Medications – Your doctor may prescribe you to apply some corticosteroid creams on the affected areas. It might take some months to show its results but will help in lightening the skin tone and getting the color back. In some rare cases, your doctor can also suggest taking some ointments to reduce the autoimmune condition. 

Surgery – There are primarily two kinds of surgeries involved to cure vitiligo: 

  • Mini grafting – In this kind of surgery, the fraction of skin affected will be extracted out and replaced by other parts of the skin which have high levels of melanin.
  • Micropigmentation – It includes tattooing the lips affected by vitiligo. 

   

Counseling – The patients suffering from vitiligo are adapted with several physical insecurities and lose their confidence to interact with others. It is advised to take a few counseling sessions to relieve the mental stress and proudly accept this condition. 

 

Conclusion 

Vitiligo is a rare skin disorder that is caused by the absence of melanin from melanocytes present in the skin cells. It is autoimmune conditions that make our body’s immunity attack melanocytes and make the skin lose its color. Smooth and white patches are observed in different parts of the body but it mainly affects the hand, feet, elbows, and face.

By some mere physical examinations and lab tests, this disease can be easily diagnosed. By Using some steroid creams and some technical therapies, one can improve the texture of their skin and normalize it with other skin tones. 

 

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