Many people around the world suffer from psoriasis. Sadly, they often go through difficult times with their skin condition because it is very common for people to discriminate against those who suffer from this. Additionally, there are many myths and misconceptions about psoriasis. One of the biggest ones is that psoriasis is not actually an autoimmune disease. Some people believe and continue to perpetuate these myths about this skin condition because they do not understand what it really means and how serious it can be for those who suffer from this. Others even say that you can contact psoriasis by being in contact with someone who has this skin condition. This is totally not the case! These are just a few examples of psoriasis myths debunked, all thanks to research. And this further begs the question, is psoriasis an autoimmune disease or not? Read on to find out.
What is psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that is characterized by red, itchy, and scaly patches on your skin. The most common places where psoriasis usually occurs include the knees, elbows, torso, hands, and feet. Psoriasis can also occur in all parts of your body, including your scalp, face, genitals, and lower back.
So, is psoriasis an autoimmune disease? Well, the answer is yes. Psoriasis is one of the autoimmune diseases that have been affecting people for years. It is a chronic, rare and non-contagious condition meaning it can never be transferred to another person through saliva, blood, or other body fluids. This disease occurs when the immune system triggers the growth of skin cells at an extremely rapid rate which results in patches forming on various parts of the body.
To further explain this, let us first understand how the immune system works. When there is a foreign body or a harmful substance in the body, the immune system works at getting rid of this. It does so by producing an army of special cells called T-Cells which patrol the blood and look for any foreign bodies they can attack. The T-cells then produce chemicals that aid in killing these foreign substances. Here is where psoriasis comes into play; it occurs when the immune system starts producing these chemicals even when there is no threat to get rid of. As you can imagine, this causes one’s skin to be constantly under attack and inflamed.
Causes of psoriasis
It is quite difficult to tell what exactly causes psoriasis. However, some of the causes of the disease include:
- Genetics: if you have a family history of psoriasis, it is more likely that you will develop this disease
- Age: the risk of developing psoriasis increases with age
- Medications: Drugs such as beta-blockers and lithium can cause an outbreak of psoriasis
- Stress: Being under a lot of stress or feeling anxious can trigger psoriatic symptoms
- Infections: Sometimes viruses and bacteria can lead to having an outbreak of psoriasis
Symptoms and Diagnosis
The symptoms of psoriasis vary from person to person. However, some common symptoms include scaling, peeling of the skin that is often silvery and thick and itching red patches on the skin.
Often than not, many people confuse psoriasis with eczema because of similar symptoms. If you are not sure, it is best to immediately reach out to a reputable company helping people with chronic skin conditions. This way, the doctors can diagnose your condition more efficiently.
Psoriasis is treatable; however, it can be difficult to control if not treated. The best treatment option varies from person to person and mostly depends on the severity of their condition. Here are some of the most common ways in which psoriasis is controlled:
- Watch your diet
Your diet plays a significant role in the immune system. If you are deficient in certain vitamins, your body’s immunity can be compromised. That is why it is important to make sure that you eat a balanced diet. Avoid food such as dairy products, eggs, peanuts, wheat, and soy. In addition, you can take dietary supplements to help your body fight psoriasis.
- Bathe in saltwater
Salt baths help a great way to reduce the itching and discomfort you experience as a result of psoriasis. The sea salt helps soothe your skin and bring relief from the itch by blocking pain receptors on your nerve cells. However, avoid bathing too long with warm water as it can dry up your skin.
- Light therapy
Light therapy can also help to ease the itchiness on your skin. Light therapy also includes basking in the sun and can be quite effective in reducing the symptoms of psoriasis. However, you should always follow safety guidelines when exposing your skin to ultraviolet light.
With proper diagnosis and treatment, psoriasis can be effectively managed so as to bring comfort to those who suffer from this condition. So don’t hesitate to try out these simple techniques that we have explained above.