Dr. Monica Bambroo, Head of Dermatology and Cosmetology at Artemis Hospitals in Gurugram, sheds light on why this disease needs more attention than it is getting, especially in the Indian health system.
Not just skin deep
Psoriasis is not just any skin condition characterized by scaly patches on the skin that grow and peel off very quickly. “The common man assumes that skin diseases are either fungal or bacterial in nature, but psoriasis is not,” says Dr. Bambroo. “Psoriasis is a systemic disease, which is why it is classified as an autoimmune disease. Your immune system is supposed to protect and protect you. But sometimes the immune system mistakenly attacks the body itself. In psoriasis, the immune system attacks the largest organ – the skin – causing inflammation and all of the symptoms associated with it. ”
“Usually skin diseases only affect the skin,” she adds. “However, if you have psoriasis, the inflammation can also occur in your internal organs, especially your cardiovascular system. Psoriasis can even cause metabolic syndrome, which includes a number of related diseases. ”
Diagnosis, misdiagnosis and delay in diagnosis
Dr. Bambroo explains that psoriasis symptoms can be similar to other illnesses, especially other skin conditions, and therefore may not be easy to diagnose until you see a specialist. “Early diagnosis and adequate treatment are essential if you have psoriasis,” she adds. “We often observe that psoriasis patients who are unable to diagnose or control their disease are prone to obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease in the long term.”
“Another important aspect is psoriatic arthritis,” she adds. “Although it is difficult to predict who will eventually develop psoriatic arthritis, all psoriasis patients need to be careful early on to prevent it. Most patients come to us after eight to nine years and have symptoms such as joint pain, inflammation and swelling in the small wrists and deformities in the finger joints. These are the long-term effects of psoriasis that need to be prevented. ”
Another long-term impact of psoriasis is related to mental health. “Patients are usually desperate, have depressive symptoms, and may not feel accepted by society,” says Dr. Bambroo. Since people associate the social with presentability, and psoriasis can compromise their presentability, patients often feel isolated and lonely. “These factors increase the risk of developing mental health problems compared to others around them,” she adds. “The biggest problem with psoriasis is that it seriously affects your confidence.”
Take psoriasis seriously
“Diagnosing psoriasis doesn’t require too much effort or investigation, but people tend to take skin conditions more easily than they should,” commented Dr. Bambroo. “Most people might assume that it is just a small rash that will go away on its own and that it won’t affect my health much. People are also unaware of their family medical history, and since genetics play a role in how psoriasis develops, it can also lead to delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis. ”
“However, since it is difficult to predict what health problems psoriasis will cause later, it is important that you take this disease seriously. For example, if a young patient has psoriasis and we ignore it, it can have lifelong and incompetent effects, ”she says. “This is why early and correct treatment for psoriasis is vital.”
This is how to prevent flare-ups
Dr. Bambroo mentions that while you can’t control the genetic causes of psoriasis, you can manage the environmental factors that can trigger flare-ups. “Smoking and alcohol consumption tend to cause more flare-ups, as do obesity and poor weight management. If you take care of these factors and take care of the health of your skin as the winter season approaches, psoriasis patients can better manage their flare-ups. Stress also causes psoriatic flare-ups, and we’ve seen a particularly large number of such cases during the COVID-19 pandemic. You need to keep yourself stress free by meditating, doing yoga, and following a daily routine, ”she adds.
Although psoriasis has no cure and is a chronic disease, there are currently many treatment options available including corticosteroids, vitamin D derivative creams, immunosuppressants, etc. “However, it is important that doctors discuss possible options with patients and adjust their treatment to make sure you can actually take the necessary course, ”says Dr. Bambroo. “It is also important that you return to your doctor for follow-up care, as not all drugs are effective for psoriasis year after year. Medicines can also have side effects. Therefore, it is necessary to have your doctor examine you regularly. ”
“The biggest caveat to treating psoriasis that I have found is that the best treatments are also very expensive and not covered by insurance. I think it’s very important to include diseases like psoriasis in insurance plans and reimbursements, ”she adds. “Psoriasis is not a cosmetic disease that goes away like pimples. This disease has a significant impact on life and affects the patient’s dermatological quality of life index (DLQI). ”
For more information, see our article on psoriasis.
Health articles in Firstpost are authored by myUpchar.com, India’s first and largest source of verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to inform you about all aspects of health.
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