Within the immune system lives important white blood cells that are sent throughout the body to detect invading germs. They are born from the hematopoietic stem cells within bone marrow before migrating to the thymus glands where it will eventually mature. While they are a core factor in the body’s protection against infection and diseases, T-cells can sometimes become an enemy to itself if it is prompted to turn against itself. In this circumstance, an individual will become immunocompromised and fall victim to autoimmune disease. Autoimmune diseases can happen to anybody at any time and become chronic or permanent. Plus, any part of the body can be affected by an autoimmune disorder from the joints, the brain, the nerves, kidneys, liver, thyroid, and the skin. While autoimmune conditions can vary on symptoms, they all share the presence of systemic inflammation that is brought on by environmental toxicity, genetics, bacterial infections, allergies, or long-term medications.
Meanwhile, in the deep layer of one’s skin, the body produces numerous new skin cells to create keratin and are pushed through three layers towards the exterior of the body. Once these cells reach the outermost layer, they are shed. Medical News explains that “humans shed around 500 million skin cells each day” with the epidermis (outer layer) consisting of about 20-30 layers of dead cells¹. This whole process takes about three to four weeks to complete. Although if an immune system goes awry, it sends T-cells to attack the skin cells in the lower layer. This speeds up the skin cell process to up to three to seven days maximum. This causes underdeveloped skin cells to travel to the epidermis, and instead of shedding, they remain and form scaly, red patches all throughout the body. This autoimmune disease is called psoriasis.
What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin disease that is induced by a dysfunctional immune system. Symptoms normally appear in patients between the ages of 15 and 25, however the condition can also begin anytime in all genders, races and nationalities. Skin cells pile up on the surface of the epidermis and form rash-like patches that appear most commonly on the scalp, knees, and elbows, however the disease can affect other parts of the body too. The National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) stated that, “psoriasis affects more than 3% of the United States adult population” which averages out to approximately 7.5 million people². There are five different types of psoriasis:
- Plaque – This type of psoriasis is the most common form of the condition and appears as raised, inflamed, or scaly patches that may cause itching. Healthline suggests that about 80-90% of psoriasis cases are considered plaque³. It can be found anywhere on the body, but it most often starts on the elbows, knees, scalp or torso. Colors of the patches differ between skin colors and pigments. Plaque on Caucasian skin will appear red covered with white buildup of dead skin cells, meanwhile plaque on skin of color may appear darker covered with a gray buildup of dead skin.
- Guttate – This form of psoriasis may initially resemble a rash, however it is actually small papules on the body that become raised. These papules are caused by inflammation in the skin and can develop anywhere on the body. This inflammation is normally triggered by certain infections such as strep throat, stress or medications. This is the second most common form of psoriasis with 8% of patients developing it in their early childhood.
- Inverse – The NPF stated that between 21 – 30% of those with psoriasis eventually develop inverse psoriasis4. This condition appears on skinfolds such as armpits, groins, under breasts, or finger knuckles. Certain aspects such as sweat or moisture in the air can prevent the formation of skin scales.
- Pustular – This form of psoriasis can easily be confused with acne due to its lumpy, pus-filled bumps that appear inflamed and discolored. The NPF stated that only 3% of those with psoriasis eventually develop a form of pustular5. Depending on where it forms on the body determines the type of pustular psoriasis that it is. There are three types:
- General pustular psoriasis (GPP): which affects large areas of the body and is accompanied with symptoms of fever, severe itching, muscle weakness and fatigue.
- Localized pustular psoriasis: which affects one’s hands, palms and feet.
- Acropustulosis: which is found on the tips of the fingers.
- Erythrodermic – Perhaps the rarest form of psoriasis, this type takes the shape of severe first degree burns and requires hospitalization as it has the potential to be life-threatening. Physically, the entire body is affected, and patients will feel symptoms of shivering, edema, and be at high risk of pneumonia, infection and heart failure.
What Causes Psoriasis?
Much like other autoimmune conditions, the cause of psoriasis is unknown, however research shows that certain genetic types, environmental factors, infections and allergies all play a role in its development. Additionally, certain ingredients in specific food items may cause flare-ups in some people. It’s also been known to accompany other forms of chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and psoriatic arthritis.
Treating Psoriasis at LifeWorks Wellness Center
Traditionally, most conventional doctors and dermatologists often prescribe a topical or other skin creams to treat psoriasis, however at LifeWorks, our approach will provide a more in-depth analysis on what is truly going on in the body. For 23 years, we have treated a multitude of autoimmune diseases using natural remedies and psoriasis is no exception. Patients will be required to consult with a LifeWorks autoimmune disease specialist to discuss symptoms, allergies, medical history and other conditions that they may have such as pregnancy or asthma. From there, patients will undergo a series of tests to detect signs of inflammation, environmental toxicity, and parasites in the system. Based on the results, a LifeWorks practitioner will provide a specific treatment plan that will include intravenous therapies, ozone therapies, autoimmune injections, peptides, supplement regimens and dietary changes. This program will eliminate the inflammation present in the body and stabilize the immune system to prevent the constant attack on skin cells, thus normalizing the keratin process.
If you or someone that you know are currently suffering from a form of psoriasis or another autoimmune disorder, please call to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians at 727-466-6789.
- Skin: Structure and function explained (medicalnewstoday.com)
- Psoriasis: Causes, Triggers and Treatments: National Psoriasis Foundation
- Types of Psoriasis: Pictures, Symptoms, and Treatments (healthline.com)
- Inverse Psoriasis: National Psoriasis Foundation
- Pustular Psoriasis: Causes and Treatment: National Psoriasis Foundation