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Beware of skin diseases that can afflict you

By Randy Collins Subscribe to RSS | February 3rd 2012 | Views:

The human skin is the largest organ in our body. It can actually breathe and hence absorb and discard many things, good and bad for the body. The skin has an inbuilt protection system which works with the help of ‘good bacteria’ that help in fighting germs. Washing and keeping the skin clean is important as it helps it to breathe easier. The skin is highly sensitive and can get afflicted by many diseases.

One of the chronic disorders that afflict the skin is Psoriasis. It is an autoimmune disease that arises from faulty immune responses from the body against substances and tissues present in the body itself. It actually turns against itself, mistaking some parts of the body as pathogens or germs that are harmful for the body. It attacks its own cells by sending out faulty signals that speed up the growth cycle of skin cells. The type of psoriasis that commonly afflicts most people is plaque psoriasis which is distinguished by the red and white scaly patches that appear on the top layer of the skin.

Plaque occurs on the skin of the elbows and knees, however it can attack any area including the scalp. This disorder is chronic and can start as a small patch and progress to cover the entire body. The fingernails and toenails can get affected as well, that is called psoriatic nail dystrophy. In some cases it can cause inflammation in the joints leading to psoriatic arthritis leading to pain and stiffness. It is estimated that about 30% of patients suffering from psoriasis are afflicted by psoriatic arthritis.

Besides plaque psoriasis, the other types are: guttate, nail psoriasis, and psoriatic arthritis. Guttate psoriasis is characterized by tiny scaly red or pink tear-drop shaped lesions that appear in large numbers. These appear in the trunk, limbs and the scalp. It is often preceded by streptococcal infection, called treptococal pharyngitis .Nail psoriasis causes discoloring under the nail plate, pitting and splitting of nails, thickening of skin under the nail, loosening and crumbling of the nail. Psoriatic arthritis affects joints and results in connective tissue inflammation. It affects the joints of the fingers and toes and causes swelling.

The exact cause for psoriasis is unknown, however it is believed that there could be a genetic reason and onset of psoriatic changes could be triggered by an injury to the skin which is known as Koebner phenomenon or ‘isomorphic response’ which refers to skin lesions forming due to linear exposure or irritation. This phenomenon is present in other skin ailments as well. Several factors that aggravate psoriasis have been identified. It is believed that stress could be a factor as well as withdrawal of systemic corticosteroid which is a class of chemical that is naturally produced in the adrenal cortex which mediates stress responses in the body. Due to its chronic recurrent nature a definite cure is still elusive. Individuals with psoriasis may feel self-conscious about their appearance and have very poor self-image that arises from the fear and ignominy of public reaction and rejection as well as psychosexual concerns. Psychological distress cold lead to depression and social isolation and at times suicidal tendencies.

The management of psoriasis is indeed a challenge. Moisturizing agents, mineral oil and petroleum jelly may help soothe the affected skin. Bath solutions would be effective in controlling the severity. Applying medicated creams and ointments directly on the affected portions helps reduce inflammation and remove dead scale and clear skin of plaque. Another old method of treatment is Phototherapy in the form of sunlight which has proved to be effective The intensity of the wavelengths used would vary from person to person depending on the severity.

Randy Collins - About Author:
Randy Collins is freelance author who believes in holistic method of treating chronic diseases. He believes that leading healthy lives by cultivating good lifestyle habits is very important to keep illnesses at bay. He keenly follows latest updates by watching health related programs onAT&T U-verse Cable

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