Psoriasis Treatment – It’s Time To Ask Your Doctor About It
The term psoriasis was derived from the Greek word that meant itch. This condition is, indeed, itchy and it is something that will not easily go away as you apply a medication or two. This is a chronic skin disorder that is characterized by scaling, redness and inflammation. The patient’s scaly skin occurs because the skin cells overproduce the epidermis or outer layer. Since this can be an embarrassing condition for many patients, it becomes imperative to search for the best kind of psoriasis treatment.
Approximately 2% to 2.6% of the U.S. population is suffering from psoriasis. When translated into actual numbers, these figures could be around 5.8 to 7 million Americans. Every year, there are about 150,000-250,000 new cases that occur. This disorder can occur at any age and in both men and women.
Psoriasis is more predominant in women, though.
Normally, the outer layer of the skin regenerates every 28 days or so. For psoriasis patients, though, this process is accelerated as the skin regenerates in every two to four days.
The Aim of Psoriasis Treatments
Treatments for psoriasis are supposed to stop skin cells from regenerating too quickly. When the treatment takes effect, it is supposed to reduce inflammation, even plaque formation. It is also supposed to remove the scales and smoothen the skin.
Majority of the treatments are topical medications. There are also systemic medications and light therapy.
Topical medication, when used alone, can effectively hamper mild to moderate psoriasis. As the disease becomes more severe, all the creams and ointments won’t do a thing. These may be combined with oral medications, even light therapy by the doctor.
Topical medications include topical corticosteroids, Vitamin D analogues, anthralin, Calcineurin inhibitors, topical retinoids salicylic acid, moisturizers and coal tar.
Light or phototherapy is a form treatment that makes use of artificial or natural UV light. The easiest kind of phototherapy involves the exposure of the patient’s skin to natural sunlight (in controlled amounts).
The UV light from the sun has a light range that is too short for the naked eye to see. Activated T cells die when they are exposed to natural sunlight. This will slow the cell’s turnover, thus, reducing inflammation and scaling.
Other kinds of phototherapy include the use of UVA and UVB light either as a combination or solo. UVB phototherapy, in controlled doses, can improve mild to moderate symptoms of psoriasis. This can also be used in treating single patches to widespread psoriasis. You have to prepare for the short-term side effects which include itching, redness and dryness. Moisturizer often helps in easing the side effects.
Another type of therapy is the Goeckerman therapy. A few doctors combine the coal tar and UVB light treatments to come up with the Goeckerman therapy. The combined therapy is more effective than the single therapies. This is a treatment that can be administered in a doctor’s office.
PUVA or photochemotherapy makes use of light-sensitizing medication (psoralen) prior to UVA light exposure. The UVA light then penetrates deeper to the skin when compared to the UVB light.
PUVA requires 2-3 treatments every week for a number of weeks. Only a competent doctor must administer the treatments.
Short-term side effects include headaches, nausea, itching and burning. The long-term side effects are wrinkled skin, freckles, dryness and an increase in the risk of skin cancer.
Excimer laser is another form of light therapy that is used to treat mild to moderate psoriasis. This treats only the affected area as a controlled UVB beam is directed to it. This results into an unharmed surrounding skin. This therapy is used to control inflammation and scaling. Side effects may include blistering and redness.
If you want a diet that goes hand-in-hand with psoriasis treatment, you should ask your doctor about it.