Dr. Sandeep Arora is currently working as Head of Dept. of Dermatology at Army College of Medical Sciences & Base Hospital, Delhi Cantt. He completed his MBBS in the year 1993 from Armed Forces Medical College, Pune and then pursued MD in Dermatology. On the occasion of World Psoriasis Day 2020, Health Room got a chance to take his interview. The purpose of the interview is to make people more aware and informed about Psoriasis. Here are the excerpts from it.
“Hello Dr. Sandeep Arora, Welcome to Health Room.”
What kind of disease is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is an auto-immune and inflammatory skin condition that causes thick, red, and silvery patches on the skin. This is a result of the rapid build-up of skin cells due to the dysfunction in the immune system.
Is psoriasis curable?
Though psoriasis can’t be cured, this condition can be effectively managed with timely diagnosis, following prescribed treatment, and incorporating healthy lifestyle modifications.
Is psoriasis contagious?
Contrary to the popular perception, psoriasis is a non-contagious skin condition and cannot spread from touching the flare-ups. Due to the lack of awareness people often misunderstand psoriasis to be a transmissible disease.
Owing to the prevalent myth of psoriasis being infectious people living with this condition are often subjected to humiliation and alienation in their personal as well as professional environment. It is essential to increase the level of awareness among the masses so that psoriasis patients can lead a normal life without being stigmatised.
What are the environmental risk factors in the causation of psoriasis?
Psoriasis can be triggered by an interplay between genetic and environmental factors. These environmental risk factors may vary in each individual according to their medical history and lifestyle choices. A few of the common environmental triggers are infection, excess stress, traumatic injury, smoking, alcohol, cold weather, and certain medications and vaccines. A person with psoriasis should identify which triggers aggravate their existing symptoms with the help of their treating dermatologist and consciously avoid those in their daily life.
Are there lifestyle changes that should be done to improve the psoriasis symptoms?:
Psoriasis is not just a skin condition but an autoimmune condition and can have a substantial impact on a person’s quality of life. To minimize the negative implications of psoriasis, following several lifestyle changes is essential to have a better treatment journey and improved quality of life.
Making healthy choices can reduce the frequency of psoriasis flare-ups. Quitting smoking, limiting alcohol intake, maintaining weight by eating a healthy and balanced diet, and exercising regularly are a few lifestyle modifications that help in better management of this condition. Using home-remedies may cause adverse effects rather than providing relief. Hence, one should not depend on self-treatment through home-remedies for achieving remissions.
What are the treatments available?
There are various treatment options available that have proved to be effective in the management of psoriasis. The choice of treatment depends upon the type and severity of psoriasis and, how much body surface area is affected by flare-ups. Topical therapies like ointments, creams, lotions, etc. are mostly prescribed for treating mild psoriasis. Whereas, advanced treatment with oral tablets, capsules and biologics are prescribed for treating moderate to severe psoriasis that helps in providing long-term remission to the patients and may show improved symptoms within weeks.
Are any other condition linked to psoriasis?:
As the condition progresses, people with psoriasis are also exposed to the risk of developing critical co-morbidities. Psoriatic arthritis is one of the most common co-morbidities linked to psoriasis. It is a form of arthritis that affects the joints, tendons, and bones. Psoriasis can also lead to the development of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes due to insulin resistance, obesity, etc. As psoriasis has a severe impact on a person’s psychological well-being, they are at an increased risk of living with depression.
Regular screening will help in identifying early symptoms of these conditions and managing them successfully.
What are the risk factors of psoriasis?
With a predisposed genetic background and their interplay with environmental factors predisposing an individual to psoriasis, certain extrinsic risk factors such as smoking including passive smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, certain medicines, infections and intrinsic factors such as obesity, lifestyle diseases and mental stress are associated with onset and exacerbation of psoriasis.
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