Among the many skin problems, psoriasis is a prevalent and dreadful disease where the incidence rate is 1.02% in India. This is an immune-mediated disease that causes scaly patches that appear over the skin. These extra cells form scales and red patches exhibiting itchiness. In varying conditions, the patches may be dry or oozing and sometimes painful.
Psoriasis has a chronic nature where the symptoms come and disappears. No permanent cure is found for psoriasis. However, the symptoms can be managed. It occurs in both genders and all age groups. Psoriasis is not a contagious disease. Most observed type of psoriasis is plaque psoriasis.
Although psoriasis can occur in any part of the body, it is most commonly seen in the following areas – scalp, elbows, knees, underarms, lower back, fingers, and toenails genital area, navel, between buttocks, knuckles, and other body folds.
What are the causes of psoriasis?
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease. So, the condition pops up when there is a compromise in the immune system. The development of all immune system cells happens in the bone marrow with a hematopoietic stem cell. Typically, there are two essential cells, namely, t cells and b cells. Any trigger to the body leads the cells to fight against the infections. In addition, they also produce a chemical that causes inflammation.
The immune system involves a type of cells known as t cells. A trigger causes the t cells to behave as fighting an infection or healing a wound. As a result, they produce chemicals that cause inflammation and excess growth of skin cells.
What triggers this condition is still not clear. However, on a general note, people with extreme habits of smoking, alcohol, infection/allergy, injuries to the skin, drastic hormonal changes, stress, and anxiety are more prone to show up this disease.
In some cases, medications can also be a leading cause of psoriasis. In addition, people who follow an adverse diet habit are most prone to suffer from psoriasis. Finally, an extreme change in weather conditions also quickly affects the skin and can lead to the disease.
What are the symptoms of psoriasis?
In psoriasis, both dead and live cells get collected over the surface.
Main symptoms include:
- presence of red, flaky, crusty patches over the skin
- patches are covered with silvery scales, which sheds easily
- intense itching and burning
- sometimes the patches are wet and oozing.
Symptoms may vary from case to case. According to the national psoriasis foundation,
psoriasis variations percentage affected in the body –
- Mild psoriasis 3% of the body
- Moderate psoriasis 3-10% of the body
- Severe psoriasis more than 10% of the body
The majority of the people, 80%, have mild psoriasis, and 20% have moderate to severe psoriasis.
Types of psoriasis
This is the most common type of psoriasis, about 80 to 90 per cent of people with psoriasis have plaque psoriasis. The skin appears as raised, inflamed with red lesions, which is covered by silvery scales. Plaque psoriasis commonly occur in elbows, knees, scalp, and lower back.
This condition is expected in the armpits, the groin, under the breasts and other skin folds. The lesions appear without the scales and the skin appears smoother and shinier. This is very common in obese individuals. It may irritate due to rubbing and sweating because it mainly pops up in the tender areas.
Erythrodermic psoriasis appears to be more reddish and inflammatory in nature compared to other types. The lesions are not correctly defined in the type. There may be severe itching associated with pain in this condition. Erythrodermic psoriasis may cause oedema around the ankles. The body finds it difficult in adjusting to the temperature. This can also trigger infection, pneumonia and congestive heart failure.
Guttate psoriasis often starts in childhood, and appears as small red spots that are not thick. Conditions like upper respiratory infections, bacterial infections, tonsillitis, stress, injury to the skin can trigger guttate psoriasis. However, it disappears on its own and generally doesn’t reappear.
Pustular psoriasis is a rare category where less than 5 per cent gets affected. Pustular model is more seen in adults than in children. It appears in white bumps, or blisters, of non-infectious pus, surrounded by red skin. It occurs in the hands, feet, or most of the body. The condition is not contagious. Initially, the skin becomes red and is followed by pustules and scaling.
Studies claim that up to 40 per cent of people with psoriasis have joint inflammation with signs of arthritis. This condition is called as psoriatic arthritis. The symptoms are commonly seen in an upper age group of 30-50yrs. This leads to progressive damage to the joints. Other symptoms include physical discomfort, itching, and pain. Psoriatic arthritis treatment in Ayurveda is very much effective in managing the ailment.
Effective ayurvedic medicines for psoriasis
Since psoriasis is a severe skin condition, it requires medical intervention. Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin condition characterized by the appearance of bumpy red patches with large white scales. The disease is non-infectious and occurs when the Vata and Pitta Dosha is vitiated, leading to the accumulation of toxins in the Rakta (blood), Mamsa (muscles), Lasika (lymphatic) and rasa (plasma) dhatus.
Psoriasis treatment in Ayurveda emphasis Shodhana therapy. Depending on the predominant dosha, the treatments are decided. For example, if the disease is Bahu Dosha Janya (arose due to the three doshas), both Vamana and Virechana need to be done.
The ayurvedic treatment for psoriasis aims to remove the toxins from the blood & tissues and improve metabolism. Here are few psoriasis Ayurveda treatments:
-Snehana: in cases of psoriasis due to Vata predominance, oral administration of medicated ghee or oil is recommended. The consumption of ghee can vary from five to seven days.
-Vamana and Virechana: depending upon the vitiated dosha, the treatments are chosen. Kapha predominant cases are treated with Vamana, and to remove the excess pitta from the body, Virechana helps. After the Samshodhana therapy, Lepanam is applied over the patches.
-Raktamokshana: the bloodletting therapy helps to remove the vitiated blood from the body and cleanses the circulatory system.
-Vasti: medicated enemas are administered as per the condition. Medicines are prepared from special herbs that help to alleviate the Twak Dosha and cure the disease.
-Takradhara: Takradhara is a treatment that involves continuous dripping of buttermilk over the forehead. It helps to calm down and reduce the pitta vitiation in the body.