Our skin plays an important role in protecting our body. It acts as a barrier against harmful microorganisms. Skin being the largest organ, is also very vulnerable to all kinds of infections and allergies. Psoriasis is one such disorder that affects the skin. It is a condition where, due to a malfunction of the immune system, new skin cells form rapidly. Shedding of the excess skin cells do not happen. This leads to build up of the cells on the surface of the skin resulting in painful red, scaly patches. These patches can itch and feel sore. Psoriasis can affect any part of the body including the scalp and the genitals.
August, being the psoriasis month, is a good time to get to know more about the disease and ways to prevent it from affecting your life.
Types of psoriasis
There are mainly six types of psoriasis. They are distinguished by their location and appearance. These are:
- Plaque psoriasis
This is the most common type of psoriasis affecting people. Circular or oval shaped plaques are found on the elbows, knees, trunk or scalp. It can also be found on any other part of the skin.
- Guttate psoriasis
This is characterized by small red bumps, usually on the trunk, arms or legs. It can also cover a larger portion of the body.
- Inverse psoriasis
This is characterized by bright red smooth patches that are usually found on the fold of the skin. The most common areas are under the breasts, in the armpits, near the genitals and under the buttocks.
- Pustular psoriasis
This is characterized by raised bumps on the skin that are filled with pus. It can affect the whole body.
- Nail psoriasis
This is characterized by changes in the nail area. This includes discoloration of the nails, formation of little pits in the nails, etc.
- Erythrodermic psoriasis
In this type of psoriasis, the body appears to be covered in a red peeling rash that itches or burns. Although it is uncommon, it can turn out to be a serious condition.
Facts about psoriasis
Psoriasis is a skin disease affecting many individuals. Its characteristics can vary from person to person. Some individuals may only have minor problems while for others it can be serious enough to the extent of being socially disabling.
Below are some facts about psoriasis:
- It is an auto-immune disease which manifests as a skin disorder.
- It is not contagious.
- A person with a family history of psoriasis has a higher chance of getting it.
- It is most often seen in the age groups of 16 to 50 years old.
- Both men and women are equally affected.
- Stress, infections, medications, dry weather, etc. can trigger psoriasis.
- People who suffer from psoriasis can also get psoriasis arthritis.
- All types of psoriasis can be treated, but there is no permanent cure. Treatments can help in improving the quality of life.
- Intensive research is being carried out for better treatment of psoriasis.
Managing psoriasis the Ayurvedic way
Ayurveda has become a popular alternative treatment of choice for many people due to its affordability and low side effects. According to Ayurveda, psoriasis is caused due to an imbalance in the kapha and vata doshas. The dominant doshas affect the skin, causing it to become discolored and scaly.
Although psoriasis is mainly an inherited disorder, it is also caused by too much accumulation of ama (toxins) in the blood stream. Irregular food habits and eating incompatible food can lead to accumulation of ama in the dhatus (deep tissues). These toxins then accumulate leading to psoriasis.
In ayurveda, a disease is treated by finding out the vitiated doshas of the individual and bringing about a balance. Psoriasis is managed by detoxifying the blood. Treatments vary according to the severity and affectation of the doshas.
Ayurvedic treatment for psoriasis is administered through:
- Lifestyle and diet changes
- Reduction of stress causing elements
- Panchakarma therapy, which
consists of following:
- Snehapanam – herbal medicines mixed in ghee are given for consuming for a week
- Vamanam – herbal medicines are given to induce vomiting
- Virechanam – herbal medicines are given as a laxative
- Dahara – medicated buttermilk is dripped over the head
- Basthies – medicated enemas that are given for 7 to 8 days
In order for the treatment to be effective, the instructions given by the ayurvedic physicians should be followed without fail.
Common Medicines used by Ayurveda Doctors in Kerala
- Vajrakam Kashayam
- Mahathiktakam Kashayam
- Patolamooladi Kashayam
- Patoladi Kashayam
- Manjishtadi Kashayam
- Maha Manjishtadi Kashayam
- Gugguluthiktakam Kashayam
- Avipathy Churna
- Vaiswanara Churna
- Shaddharana Churna
- Guggulupanchapala Churna
- Kaisore Guggulu
- Kanchnar Guggulu
- Chandraprabha Vati
- Vilwadi Gulika
- Dooshivishari Gulika
- Virechana Gulika
- Kalyana Gulam
- Manibhadra Gulam
- Trivrit leham
- Dasamulahareetaki lehyam
- Agasthya rasayanam
- Gugguluthiktakam Ghritham
- Aragwadhamahathikta Ghritham
- Mahathikta Ghritham
- Shadpala Ghritham
- Ayyapala Kera Tailam
- Bruhat Dantapala Tailam
- Eladi Keram
- Dinesavalyadi Keram
- Paranthyadi Keram
Simple ways to improve your life while living with psoriasis
Psoriasis can disrupt your life routine. It can undermine the self confidence of the sufferer and cause many an occasion for embarrassment. It can also cause havoc on relationships. Although psoriasis is not completely curable, there are many home remedies that help in alleviating the pain and bring about relief.
Below are some ways to help in dealing with psoriasis:
- Deep breathing exercises and meditation are good ways to relax the mind and reduce stress.
- Applying avocado oil on the affected parts of the body is said to be an effective in relieving the pain of psoriasis.
- Eating a few cloves of garlic every morning on an empty stomach helps to flush out the toxins from the blood.
- Extracts from neem leaves when applied on the affected areas can reduce itching and redness of the skin.
- Keeping the skin moisturized and staying hydrated by drinking lots of water can help to prevent the psoriasis from flaring up.
- Alcohol worsens psoriasis. Therefore, avoiding alcohol is necessary to control psoriasis.
- Having a positive approach to life can help keep psoriasis under control.
You can stop psoriasis from taking control over your life and that of your loved ones. This can be achieved by undergoing the right Ayurvedic treatments and controlling the diet.