Historically, sufferers from skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis have been looked at with disgust and ostracized from society. In fact, the term leper was applied to people with all kinds of unsightly skin conditions, not only leprosy.
This revulsion towards skin disease is still prevalent today, and psoriasis is a very stressful and miserable condition to have, especially with the young, for obvious reasons: it affects all parts of the body, including scalp, face, hands, nails and even the genital areas. It is unpleasant to look at and unpleasant to have.
Like many conditions, only a sufferer can understand the way it affects aspects of life others take for granted; activities such as having a good time at a swimming pool, sunbathing on the beach, wearing a t-shirt, shorts or even changing clothes in front of people, and for youngsters and teenagers, trying to find a boyfriend or girl friend. None of these things, which are part of every day life, are easy for psoriasis suffers, andin some cases not even possible. It is sometimes embarrassing even going for a hair cut! Only we know the feelings, doubts and anxieties when people stare at us or make comments.
WHAT IS THE CAUSE?
Quite frankly, in my opinion, no one knows what causes psoriasis. I have heard it said that it is inherited. I have suffered from psoriasis for 30 years but no one else in my family has it, going back to my great grandparents on both sides of the family. One thing is certain – it is not infectious. Psoriasis cannot be passed from one person to another.
I have read about many factors which trigger psoriasis:
- contact with certain chemicals
- mechanical stress to elbows, knees
- exposure to some steroids and other medications
and so many other activities to avoid in addition to the above, such as swimming. Can swimming really trigger psoriasis? I wouldn’t know, its been such a long time since I enjoyed that activity.
It has been said that psoriasis has a connection with arthritis. This I believe since some of my family have arthritis and I have it in both knees. Perhaps this could eventually be clue as to the cause. However, psoriasis is not as glamorous as most conditions which are given research funding.
The cause of psoriasis is thought to be connected to the autoimmune system and a certain type of white blood cell called T-cells which stimulate the reproduction of skin cells. The result is that skin cells grow much faster than normal - this basically is what psoriasis is: skin cells reproducing much faster than they usually do, so it a completely natural process, just that it is happening too fast. Why this happens is unknown, and the reason why one patch of skin is affected with psoriasis while the skin beside it is clear, is also unknown.
However, research is being carried out on the human genome of people affected with psoriasis to try determine any genetic cause of the disease. So far it is thought that a number of factors are involved which combine to form the condition when acted on by a trigger such as one or more of those above.
There are many claims on the internet from people who profess to have discovered the cause of psoriasis, and hence a psoriasis cure, but I do not believe them. Anyone with a cure for psoriasis would not be selling it for a few bucks on the internet. They would very rapidly become multi millionaires!
Psoriasis causes enough mental stress and anguish in sufferers without them having to read this kind of nonsense, and be given false hope by some internet marketer who is trying to make a fast buck from someone’s concerns and worries. This type of marketing with stressful conditions such as psoriasis we can do without.
If anyone out there claims to have a cure for psoriasis, send it to me free of charge and I will try it out. If your claims are true I will tell the world for you, and you will make more money than you can count. I wonder how much response I will get to that offer? Don’t wait up.
In Part 2 I will describe the various types of psoriasis and how they applied to me. What problems they gave me personally and what treatments I sought and used for them. The results make interesting reading and I have a few suggestions to make as to how psoriasis can be controlled.
I also found that everyone is different, and an effective treatment for one can do nothing for another. This supports the theory that the condition is due to a number of factors, and that the individuals environment can have a significant part to play.
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Peter Nisbet runs a general Health & Fitness website on which he gives advice, articles and products related to specific health topics and conditions. Find more advice on psoriasis and other skin problems on www.welshhealth.com
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