Psoriasis – Causes, triggers, and management
Psoriasis is a prevalent skin disorder that leads to various symptoms, the most prominent being skin inflammation and itchy, red, and white patches on the skin. Although the condition is mainly seen in adults, it can impact individuals of all ages. In most cases, it affects specific areas, such as the knees, elbows, and lower back. Sometimes, it also affects joints, causing pain and swelling. When that happens, the disorder is called psoriatic arthritis.
The exact cause of psoriasis is unclear. Experts believe that it is an autoimmune condition. Autoimmune conditions are when the immune system attacks the healthy cells in various body parts, leading to inflammation and other symptoms. In psoriasis, the immune cells act as though they are fighting an infection or tackling a healing wound. They produce chemicals that lead to inflammation and cause excessive growth of skin cells.
Doctors have determined specific factors that increase the risk of developing this condition. These include cardiovascular diseases, trauma to the skin, diabetes, hypertension, infection, and even metabolic syndrome. Doctors have also found that genetics play a vital role in developing psoriasis. Individuals with a family history of psoriasis are more likely to develop this condition than others. Age is also a risk factor; those between 20 and 30 years and 50 and 60 years are more susceptible.
Psoriasis is manageable if patients learn to avoid the triggers that lead to flare-ups. One of the primary triggers is food. While there is no definite list of what to eat and avoid, specific items are known to trigger this condition. Individuals with psoriasis may want to avoid shellfish, red meat, foods with gluten, and even dairy and dairy products. Another trigger is the weather. Overexposure to the sun can lead to significant outbreaks and worsen itching and inflammation. Cold and dry weather can cause the skin to lose moisture, making it irritable and increasing the chances of a flare-up. Stress, infections, and hormone fluctuation are other common triggers for psoriasis.
Treatment and management
While the skin disorder has no cure, several treatments help manage the symptoms. Some also aim at preventing outbreaks. Topical treatments are probably the most common. They are available in the form of ointments, creams, or foams that can be rubbed directly onto the skin. Doctors may also suggest oral treatments that change how the body’s immune system responds and prevent flare-ups.
Conditions like psoriasis often give rise to chronic pain. In such cases, patients may need to visit pain clinics if other pain-reducing methods do not provide relief. These are advanced healthcare facilities that focus on diagnosing and managing pain. The clinics provide access to various healthcare professionals and offer expert care while dealing with any condition.
Guselkumab, used under the brand name Tremfya®, treats plaque psoriasis by blocking inflammation-causing cytokines. Initial treatment includes the administration of 100 mg dosages for four weeks, followed by once every eight weeks. This option helps patients seek relief from joint pain, inflammation, and stiffness.