What Causes Psoriasis and How You Can Prevent Symptoms?

When you get a diagnosis of Psoriasis, it can be part relief and part dread. On one hand, you were able to figure out what those itchy, scaly, painful patches of skin were on your body. On the other hand, hearing that you have an autoimmune disease can invoke a lot of stress and fear. This is completely understandable, and you have every right to be concerned. However, don’t let psoriasis think you have a life sentence to pain and unsightly skin.

What Causes Psoriasis:

Before starting to venture into psoriasis treatments and symptom prevention, it’s important to note what causes psoriasis. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder – meaning that the body’s immune system that is responsible for warding off infections – begins to attack itself. Normal skin production happens every 4 weeks or so. We naturally shed our skin relatively often and new skin grows in its place. You’re probably not even aware that your skin is shedding, but you may have noticed the process of new skin growth when you get a skin injury where you break open skin. It scabs over first and then new, healthy skin grows.

When you have psoriasis, your body gets the same signals to make new skin that it normally does, however, the signals are a bit faulty and too quick. Psoriasis causes too much skin to be produced, which leads to the red inflammation and the white scaly, excess skin to form.

Many think one of the main causes of psoriasis is allergies. Even more, allergies are often mistaken as psoriasis itself. While allergies and psoriasis cause similar symptoms, they aren’t the cause of each other and aren’t the same. Allergies are caused when the immune system has a reaction to a sensitivity that you have to another foreign matter – pollen, medications, foods – the list of potential allergens are nearly infinite. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder meaning that the body attacks itself. Both cause skin inflammation that can be itchy and painful. Both cause a rash on the skin that can be isolated or spread throughout the body. Both symptoms can be triggered by environmental factors. But both are the results of different body triggers.

It has been found that psoriasis often occurs within the same family. Does this mean it’s passed on? Is psoriasis hereditary? It is mostly considered to be a genetic disorder that is passed down. The precise reason for it isn’t known yet, but there are documented cases in which psoriasis within the family is very predominant.

When psoriasis occur in children, parents are concerned with whether it’s contagious or whether they need to keep their kids away from other children. Can psoriasis spread? Yes and No. Psoriasis is not contagious. It cannot be transmitted by skin to skin transfer.

However, psoriasis can spread throughout the body of the person who has it. That is, it can cause small patches of skin to be irritated in one area of the body. Or, patches can join together and cause larger areas of itchy and irritated skin.

How you can prevent psoriasis symptoms:

Perhaps the worst part of having psoriasis is the symptoms. You may be lucky and have rare and mild symptoms. Or, you may have a severe case of psoriasis that causes an excessive amount of pain and itching that seem like they’ll never go away. There are things that you can do to alleviate psoriasis symptoms.

The most common treatment of itching and burning skin are creams and ointments. It’s very important that you keep your skin moisturized as not to cause breakage. Lotions, creams, and ointments can also soothe inflammation. A lot of creams are available over the counter, so you don’t have to have a prescription. If the symptoms get too severe for you to handle, then you should consult your doctor as he/she can prescribe something stronger.

Another way you can treat your psoriasis symptoms is avoiding potential triggers. While the exact, deep rooted cause of psoriasis remains unknown, it has been found that some things can make psoriasis symptoms flare up more and cause the irritation and discomfort increase.

You should try to avoid any kind of skin breaking or injury. When you shed skin, your body sends the signal to create more. With psoriasis, your body makes too much skin, so having an open wound will likely create those pesky itchy patches of skin to appear. Keep in mind that even the smallest breaking of skin can cause excess skin to grow. This includes the little cuts you can get when trimming your fingernails.

Getting a little bit of sun can help treat the symptoms of psoriasis. However, too much sun or excess UV exposure can make the skin dry out and promote breakage. This can make symptoms flare up painfully.

While too much sun can ignite symptoms, so can too much of a cold weather environment or climate. If you’ve ever been out in the cold weather, you know that this makes skin irritated and red. It’s only worse when you have psoriasis.

There is a lot of research going into what the ideal diet for psoriasis is. While nothing solid has been found yet, many people report that maintaining a healthy diet filled with anti-inflammatory foods is helpful. This includes vegetables, freshwater fish, and pumpkin seeds.

Stress and anxiety are things we can feel often. They’re somewhat unavoidable, but controllable. Too much stress and anxiety can cause psoriasis symptoms to act up. How can you avoid anxiety in a stress-filled world? You can practice meditation, yoga, seek out therapy, or just practice being focused on the present moment. Regardless of what your chosen approach to stress reduction is, it can greatly help when it comes to reducing symptoms of psoriasis.

People with psoriasis often become depressed. This can be expected with the diagnosis of a chronic, long-term disease. The problem comes in that depression and stress together are a vicious cycle. Psoriasis causes depression; Depression leads to stress and anxiety that can cause psoriasis symptoms to increase. If you feel unusually depressed, it’s important that you see a doctor so that you can be diagnosed and treated. It can help your quality of life dramatically to find the right treatment for you.

When you have psoriasis, certain medications have been found to worsen symptoms. Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAID’s), as well as, lithium have been found to affect psoriasis. Be sure that you tell your doctor if you’re on any kind of medication when you are diagnosed with psoriasis. Additionally, if throughout any of your treatment of psoriasis, if you go onto a new medication, let your doctor know. There are often substitute drugs that can be prescribed so that you don’t have to suffer.

Some people also report that their joints feel tender and sore. This is called psoriatic arthritis and doctors can prescribe a medication that can help deal with the pain.

How to find out if you have psoriasis?

Just because you have a rash of itchy and flaky skin doesn’t mean that you have psoriasis. It also doesn’t mean that you don’t. It’s easy to speculate, but anything of this potential severity is best diagnosed by a dermatologist or doctor. There aren’t any special tests that need to be done in order to diagnose psoriasis. The doctor can often tell just by looking at the area that is inflamed – whether it’s your arms and legs, or your scalp.

If your psoriasis is localized on your scalp, your doctor may prescribe a shampoo that you can use that will help treat it. If it’s located on your arms, legs, back, or belly button (all common areas for psoriasis occurrence), then they may prescribe an oral medication or a prescription strength ointment or cream. As with any medication, make sure you let you doctor know what else you’re taking and also be sure to take your medication precisely how its prescribed. Particularly when you’re in a lot of pain, it’s easy to over apply creams or take more medication than prescribed to treat the pain. It’s also tempting not to take your medication when you’re not having any symptoms. If your medication is to be taken daily, regardless of status of symptoms, you should do so.

The symptoms of psoriasis can change and develop over time. You might have very mild outbreaks occasionally, or you might have severe outbreaks every few days or months. Psoriasis is unpredictable in that sense, so finding the right treatment plan is going to be the key to effectively living with your disorder.

There are many ways that you can attempt to treat psoriasis. Unfortunately, it’s a lifelong battle that you may face. You may have to find the right combination of treatments that work for you. Over time, the methods of treatment that work for you may change, so it’s important to be aware of which things work for you. While psoriasis is a chronic disorder, millions of people manage and treat their condition effectively and live perfectly happy lives.