Psoriasis is an auto-immune non-communicable disease which speeds up the life cycle of skin cells. In a healthy body, skin cells are developed every month to replace those that fall off, but on psoriasis patients, new skin cells are produced before the dead skin cells can fall off. This causes the accumulation of dead skin cells which form the dry, painful, itchy, and dull red scaly plaques that are characteristic of psoriasis.
Psoriasis is a genetically determined chronic disease, which means that it comes and goes. There is no cure for this disease, and treatment usually focuses on the management of the symptoms.
Individuals who have psoriasis are at risk of developing diseases like psoriatic arthritis, type 2 diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, Parkinson's disease, Kidney disease, eye diseases, cardiovascular diseases, emotional problems, other autoimmune diseases, and metabolic syndromes. Certain types of Psoriasis if left untreated can have fatal consequences as it renders the body unable to fight diseases.
Types of Psoriasis:
Depending on the symptoms and the location of where the individual experiences them, there are several types of Psoriasis. They are:
1) Erythrodermic psoriasis
2) Pustular psoriasis
3) Inverse psoriasis
4) Nail psoriasis
5) Plaque psoriasis
6) Guttate psoriasis
7) Psoriatic arthritis
Though the cause isn't very clear, it is believed that psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, where the body’s T-cells (which normally fight viruses and bacteria) start to attack healthy skin cells. In response to this attack, our bodies increase its production of new skin cells. These new skin cells move to the outer layer of the skin before the dead skin cells are shed, triggering scaly skin patches.
Genetic and environmental factors may also have a role in the formation of psoriasis. The risk of developing psoriasis increases if you have a stressful lifestyle, a family history of psoriasis, viral & bacterial diseases, obesity and smoking habits.
According to Ayurveda, psoriasis arises mainly due to an imbalance of Vata and Kapha by various causes. There may also be an involvement of the Pitta dosha in some types. This imbalance causes the vitiation of various dhat us (tissue levels) of the body. This corresponds to the metabolic abnormalities associated with psoriasis: changes in the tactile sensations, discolouration, changes in texture and other associated changes in skin and its appendages, changes in the tiny blood vessels in the deep layers of skin, micro abscesses, thickening of the skin, and defects in immune mechanisms.
Signs & Symptoms:
The signs and symptoms of the condition, its intensity, and cycle, can vary from person to person but it may include one or more of the following:
1) Red patches covered with silvery scales
2) Tiny scaling spots (usually seen in children)
3) Dry, cracked skin that can bleed
4) Itching, burning or soreness
5) Thickened, pitted or ridged nails
6) Swollen and stiff joints
There is no cure for psoriasis as it is a chronic autoimmune disease, however, through Ayurveda, the patient can find effective relief through the management of the symptoms and the intensity of a flare-up. Ayurveda can help reduce and in some cases, completely remove all superficial signs of psoriasis. The remission is very minimal and can even be delayed for many years if proper follow-ups are done.
In Ayurveda, treatment mainly depends on the chronicity, type, condition of the patient, etc. Appropriate treatment modalities include internal medications, external therapies, apt bio purificative therapies (Panchakarma), and other supportive measures like yoga asana along with dietary and lifestyle modifications. The treatment is comprehensive when it focusses on ensuring good health and the prevention of complications. A healthy diet which is light and wholesome is preferred. Use of certain vegetables, condiments, fish, and meat are not advisable as it is observed to worsen the disease or affect the therapeutic efficacy of certain medicines.Meditation or similar destressing techniques shall be a regular part of the patient's lifestyle.
The dermatology department in Punarnava Ayurveda Hospital has highly qualified ayurvedic doctors who specialize in the treatment of complex skin diseases including psoriasis. Applying for medical care will provide extensive relief and limit the influence of psoriasis on the social, emotional, and physiological aspects of life.
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