Dealing with psoriasis

Are those itchy, scaly, red lesions having an impact on your well-being? Wondering what they are? They could be psoriasis, an auto-immune disease which is known to be a painful as well as persistent skin condition.

These patches are found on scalp, face, palms, elbows, knees and soles of the feet. But sometimes they are also found in places such as fingernails, toe nails and inside the mouth. Though psoriasis is difficult to diagnose as they look like any other skin disease, your doctor will be able to tell once she puts a small sample of skin under the microscope.

Causes

Though doctors are now very sure of what causes psoriasis, they believe that it might be something that triggers your immune system leading to a quick reproduction of skin cells. Generally, skin cells grow deep in the skin and slowly rise to the surface. However, in psoriasis the cell rise really quickly and pile up on the surface.

Treatment

Treatment mostly depends upon the severity of the condition, the size of the psoriasis patches and the type of psoriasis. People suffering from psoriasis almost always test low for vitamin D levels, though this deficiency may not be the cause of the disease. Your doctor may recommend ultraviolet light therapy to treat psoriasis as it raises the levels of vitamin D in your body. In addition, exposing your skin to the UV light will help in healing the lesions on the skin and relieve redness. Studies have shown that patients who underwent the light therapy at least three times a week had the levels of vitamin D doubled which in turn reduced the symptoms of psoriasis. In addition, making it a point to expose yourself to sunlight to let the UV rays trigger the production of vitamin D in your body is a good idea. Once you are diagnosed with psoriasis, your doctor may prescribe vitamin D-based ointment, gel or lotions to apply on the patches. These applications help in normal skin cell growth and prevent the growth of cells found in psoriasis. Since, these ointments and gels are not steroids, they are completely safe for long-term use.

Diet

*Make sure you eat a lot of whole grains, fruits and vegetables regularly.

*  If you are suffering from psoriasis, stay away from processed fat, sugary foods and foods with preservatives in them.

*  Add these foods to your diet as often as possible – button mushrooms, fortified cereals, tuna fish, mackerel, salmon, non-fat milk, egg yolk, fish oil and cheese.

Other tips

*  Always keep your skin moisturized.

*  Avoid picking or scratching any affected skin.

*  Try and avoid going out when it is extremely cold or dry. Cold weather can worsen the symptoms of psoriasis.

*  Alcohol and smoking can also worsen the symptoms of psoriasis.

*  Your skin tends to become dry after a bath and this may worsen the itching. Try this – mix two teaspoons of olive oil to a large glass of milk and add this to the water you will use for rinsing your body.

*  Avoid cuts and scrapes as new lesions may appear on them.

*  Stress is also known to trigger psoriasis – so keep your mind and body calm through meditation and relaxation techniques.

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