Psoriasis: A Torment in Winters
Homeopathic Journal :: Volume: 2, Issue: 3, Jan 2009 (Issue of the Month) - from Homeorizon.com
|Article Updated: Oct 18, 2009|
Psoriasis is a non-infectious, chronic inflammatory disease of the skin, characterized by well-defined erythematous plaques with silvery scale which have a predilection for extensor surfaces and scalp. Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition affecting approximately every one out of fifty persons. Lesions are common on the elbows and knees but can occur on all parts of the body including the scalp. Sometimes the lesions are small and circular, or they can coalesce together to form plaques. The nails of the hands and feet are also affected leading to pitting and thickening.
Psoriasis develops in fair skinned people and is usually linked to young adults, but children can also develop psoriasis following a sore throat. The disease shows two epidemiological patterns. The first shows an onset in the teenage and early adult years; such individuals have a family history of psoriasis and there is an increased prevalence of HLA Cw6. In the second grouping disease onset is in an individual's fifties or sixties, a family history is less common and the HLA Cw6 is not so prominent.
CAUSES: No definite cause has been identified but the following factors are felt to be important.
Heredity -it does occur in families. Twin studies show a hereditability of around 80%. Features causing flare-ups of Psoriasis are- Trauma, Infection, Sunlight (rarely), Emotion and Drugs (anti-malarials, beta-blockers)
Stress is considered to be an important factor in causing relapses .Certain infections and drugs have been known to precipitate an attack. Diet is not thought to be a major factor, although alcohol does affect the condition.
SYMPTOMS: Apart from the unsightedness which may be distressful, there are few other symptoms: Itchiness is not uncommon in 20 % of sufferers. Scaliness of the scalp can give rise to troublesome 'dandruff'. Pitting nails do not hurt, but it can lead to permanent damage. Arthritis (when it occurs) can be very painful and disabling, involving all joints of the body.
Stable plaque Psoriasis- The commonest type with lesions ranging from few millimeters to centimeters. Elbows, knees and lower back are commonly involved, but it can involve any part of body.
Guttate Psoriasis- It is most commonly seen in children and adolescents following a sore throat. Individual lesions are droplet shaped, small (<1cm) and scaly. They respond well to treatment but majority of them develop plaque psoriasis later in life.
Erythrodermic Psoriasis- In such cases skin becomes universally red or scaly. It is marked by difficult temperature regulation- hypothermia or hyperthermia.
Pustular Psoriasis- This is marked with the presence of small sterile pustules erupting on red base along with swinging pyrexia.
Psoriatic Arthropathy- Joints are affected with nail dystrophy.
PREVENTION AND SELF -HELP
Awareness, Reassurance, Encouragement are the key words in prevention and management of Psoriasis. As so little is known about psoriasis it is difficult to give advice regarding prevention. Once the condition has been diagnosed, those factors known to exacerbate the condition should be managed and controlled. This involves reduction in alcohol consumption and reducing stress. In cases of stress certain relaxation classes, autogenic training and what is termed as, tertiary prevention (reducing the impact of the diseases on the individual) through counseling have proved effective in improving the quality of life.
For successful treatment of psoriasis, homoeopathic remedies are worth trying. "Psorinum, Graphities, Sulphur,and Petroleum" have given wonderful results in indicated cases. They are prescribed depending on symptom pattern, distribution of lesions and past history of relapses. Homoeopaths will often want you to stop Hydrocortisone ointments which are known to suppress the case and actually make the lesions worse. This worsening may also be an indication of "aggravation" a common response in several alternative therapies (the condition gets worse for a while before it gets better). This pattern of response is fairly common in homoeopathy and it is important to consult an expert practitioner and follow his or her advice.
Diet does play an important part in psoriasis and you may be asked to change to a raw food diet and cut out daily products as well as meat and fried food, in addition vitamin supplements (vitamin B complex) might be prescribed.
Although these medicines listed below are perfectly satisfactory for immediate treatment ,longer term constitutional treatment from a homoeopathic doctor will almost certainly be required to improve the condition .
SYMPTOMS / MEDICINES
- Psoriasis with itching and burning and it is worse for cold and scratching. skin is dry ,rough ,and scaly. -"Arsenicum album".
- Dry ,scaly, itchy skin scales peel off easily ,leaving a raw surface exposed . Psoriasis that often occurs in emaciated and elderly women-"Arsenicum Iodatum".
- Pimply ,rough ,scaly skin ,eruption appears on scalp and extends to face and neck -"Berberis aqua folium".
- Skin is unhealthy and any injury suppurates easily. Psoriasis is better in cold weather -"Borax".
- There is dry ,scaly eruptions . Especially around eyes and ears -"Chrysarobinum".
- Rough thickened skin which may crack. finger nails and toe nails are also affected ,much worse in winter -"Petroleum".
- Yellowish brown spots appear on the skin .itching and rawness-"Sepia".
- Often helpful for longstanding psoriasis of over weight, skin is dry and the hands and feet are cold -"Thyroidinum ".
- Red spots after abuse of mercury -"sarasaparilla".
- Patches numerous ,with itching patches scale off and are replaced by smaller, leave beneath them a red skin -"Kali ars".
- Head eruption ,psoriasis , head covered with inflammatory scaly eruption (child )-"Ars.Iod.".
- Eye supraorbital eruption psoriasis in eye brows -"phosphorus".
- Patches irregular with shining scales edges slightly raised -"Iris. Vercicular".
- Scales shining white adhesive , looking like stearine -"Sepia".
- Respiration :Asthma alternates with psoriasis -"Sulphur".
- Eruptions black patches ,size of a crown ,and indolent -"Kali. Ars".
- Chronic psoriasis especially on dorsal -'Rhus tox".
- Eruptions ,rash irritating from contact with coarse shirt ,patches like linen in some parts in others a linear appearance .-"Sulphur".
- Eruptions covering a surface about 2 inches long and one inch wide ,hard hypertrophied and covered with thick whitish scales -"Merc.v.".
- Foot and soles ,knee ,leg,--"Phosphorus".
- Psoriasis palmaris affecting whole palm, itching making it impossible to do work -"Petroleum".
- Face eruption ,herpes, rough ,partly reddish partly whitish lettery spots on left check bone psoriasis -'Mercurius".
- Eruption on chin circular spots -"Sepia".
- Inveterate itching arm after scratching relief followed by burning and at times bleeding -"Sulphur".
- Some times fissured and bleeding -'Lycopodium".