Psoriasis Awareness Month
What’s your trigger? Stress? Skin Injury? Infection? Medications? The Weather?
Are you experiencing a summer flare-up? When the sun saps moisture from the air and skin becomes dry and irritated, a flare-up could be on the horizon — especially during August, the driest and hottest month of the year in Texas.
What is psoriasis anyway?
First, let’s start with what it’s not.
The most frequently asked question, because of its appearance: Is it contagious? The red, raised and inflamed patches of skin that form on elbows, knees, legs, and even the inside of the mouth are not contagious. This disease does not spread via human-to-human contact. It’s mostly hereditary and a malfunction of white blood cells, in particularly the T-Cell.
Generally, white blood cells are designed to help our bodies fight infection, but because of an abnormality occurring in the T-cell, the skin cell turn over quickens; it happens within days, rather than the normal process, which is months. This autoimmune disease, despite women feeling more socially and emotionally burdened from noticeable symptoms of psoriasis, affects men and women equally and can be found across all age ranges. Some patients feel embarrassed by their psoriasis especially when learning there is currently no cure. More importantly, however, psoriasis can have other long-term and serious medical implications. Approximately 30% of psoriasis sufferers will develop psoriatic arthritis, a condition affecting the patient’s connective tissue at the joints. This, too, has no known cure, and we are uncertain why some patients develop psoriatic arthritis and others do not.
Although there is no cure for psoriasis, it can slide into remission with certain treatments. If you have been diagnosed with psoriasis, your doctor has likely prescribed oral medication or injectable medication designed to suppress or slow the immune system. Some of these available drugs are methotrexate, cyclosporine, and biological response modifiers. Some topical medications to treat psoriasis include corticosteroids, coal tar, salicylic acid, bath solutions, and lubricants. But some patients are choosing a more natural approach in treating their psoriasis symptoms, like light therapy and pharmaceutical-grade vitamins.
Some patients are experiencing good results with periods of remission while treating psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis with these supplements:
Omega-3 Fatty Acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids like Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) have been shown to decrease inflammation, positively impact the immune function, and help keep skin moisturized. ALA is found in flax seed oil whereas EPA and DHA are found in fish oil supplements.
Called the “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D is an ingredient in some topical psoriasis medications because of its ability to influence cell growth. Studies have found that it may also help counteract the body’s response to psoriasis-related inflammation.
Glucosamine & Chondroitin.
Glucosamine may help with cartilage formation, may help repair and inhibit inflammation, while chondroitin may promote cartilage elasticity and inhibit cartilage breakdown. Studies have shown that they can be effective for individuals with osteoarthritis, and these benefits may also potentially help those with psoriatic arthritis.
Beneficial bacteria are a hot topic in medical research, particularly in relation to how they boost immune function and control allergies. A growing body of new research seems to indicate that probiotics may help with skin diseases like psoriasis, and still other studies have linked psoriatic arthritis to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), showing that probiotics may be the key to treating this condition.
If you suffer from psoriasis and would like to discuss more natural treatments, like these supplements listed here, please feel free to contact our office to discuss. We’re here to help you look and feel better.
National Psoriasis Foundation