16 October 2017
Dr Namita Jasani, Consultant Dermatologist
Research in psoriasis doesn't always make news headlines or boost research funding like discoveries in cancer or heart disease.
Although psoriasis has been treated for eons, understanding of the disease has rapidly increased in recent years. Psoriasis is a chronic, relapsing, immune-mediated inflammatory systemic disease. That means that psoriasis is actually caused by overactive immune system. In psoriasis your immune system signals get mixed up. Instead of protecting your body from invaders as it's designed to do, it promotes inflammation and turns skin cells on overdrive.
Recent research suggests that psoriasis is linked with cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome, especially those with moderate and severe psoriasis. The likely mechanisms underlying the observed increased risk is a mutual inflammatory pathway shared between both conditions.
Psoriasis prevalence rates are estimated between 1.5% and 2% worldwide. Is psoriasis hereditary? Yes, it can be inherited in a complex way. “Around 40% of patients with psoriasis have family member with the same disorder”. Psoriasis can affect the scalp, nails and the joints as well as the skin.
Certain factors can increase the risk of developing psoriasis or flaring up psoriasis. These include genetic predisposition, physical stress, psychological stress or infections caused by virus or bacteria. Smoking can worsen palmo-plantar type of psoriasis. Certain medication can worsen symptoms of psoriasis too (Propranolol, lithium, anti-malarials).
Few people talk about this condition as it can be considered as embarrassing and unsightly. Approach should be holistic and should include assessing cardio metabolic risk and explore well-being. Despite the lack of a cure for psoriasis, there are effective treatments, including topical treatments, light therapy, and systemic (oral and parenteral) treatments. Treatment of psoriasis depends on various factors, including the severity, type, and location of the disease.
Biologic therapy represents a relatively new class of drugs, which have revolutionized the treatment of psoriasis. Biologic drug are different from traditional systemic drug, which targets all immune system. Biologic drugs commonly known as injectable targets only specific part of immune system, which is involved in causing inflammation in psoriasis.
There are multiple therapies under development for the treatment of psoriasis. If you have psoriasis and you are concerned or wish to explore more, appointments can be made with Dr Namita Jasani, Consultant Dermatologist on 01277 266 761 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.