When winter comes and snowfall hits, many people enjoy the season and it’s outdoor activities. Psoriasis patients however often experience a recurrence of the disease and during mid-winter, inquiry from psoriasis patients is at a peak. Psoriasis is not only a seasonal disorder but a lifestyle disorder as well.
The word psoriasis is derived from the Greek word “Psora” and “Iasis”. Psora means itch or scale and lasis means condition.
Causes of Psoriasis According To Ayurveda
Acharya Charak has described the involvement of vata and kapha in ekkushtha or psoriasis. Accumulation of toxins or ama could also lead to this diseased condition.
Some Common triggers for Psoriasis
- Infections (e.g. streptococcal, viral)
- Skin trauma (Koebner phenomenon)
- Psychological stress
- Drugs (e.g. lithium, beta blockers)
- Metabolic factors (e.g. calcium deficiency)
- Hormonal factors (e.g. pregnancy)
- Local factors: Local injury to skin produces psoriatic lesions, the well known Koebner Phenomenon which usually occurs within 7-14 days.
- Emotional stress: The disease itself could produce a reactive depression, which could further exacerbate the disease.
- Infections: Streptococcal UTI has been shown to exacerbate Psoriasis. Other infective foci from sinus, tonsil, gall bladder and oral cavity may be the cause for exacerbation.
- Drugs: Beta blockers, NSAIDS, Anti depressant, Corticosteroid therapy withdrawal, Alcoholic beverages etc.
- Drugs that can trigger the disease, worsen symptoms, or cause a flare-up include Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, drugs used to treat high blood pressure and heart problems
- Beta-blockers, drugs used to treat high blood pressure and heart problems
- Chloroquine, a medicine used to treat malaria
- Lithium for bipolar disorder treatment
- Indomethacin, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) — Note: Other NSAIDs, such as meclofenamate, may actually improve the condition.
Risk factors for Psoriasis
Smoking tobacco not only increases the risk of psoriasis but also may increase the severity of the disease. Smoking may also play a role in the initial development of the disease.
Complications of Psoriasis
- Thickened skin and bacterial skin infections caused by scratching in an attempt to relieve severe itching
- Fluid and electrolyte imbalance in the case of severe pustular psoriasis
- Low self-esteem
- Social isolation
- If one has psoriasis, he or she is at greater risk of developing certain diseases such as metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions that include high blood pressure and elevated insulin levels; inflammatory bowel disease; cardiovascular disease and, possibly cancer.
- In addition, psoriatic arthritis can be debilitating and painful, making it difficult to go about one’s daily routine. Despite medications, psoriatic arthritis can cause joint damage.
- Genetic factors play some role, but environmental factors also contribute to disease susceptibility.
Psoriasis is not contagious.
Local forms include palmoplantar, scalp, nail (psoriatic onychodystrophy).
Ayurvedic Management of Psoriasis: An Overview
Treatment may also include stress management, oral Ayurvedic medicines, immunomodulators for immunity, topical treatments, regular follow up appointments and yoga and meditation to relieve mental stress.
- Avoid acidic (sour) foods, citrus fruits (lemon, orange), apple, mango, grapes, tomato, pineapple, pickles, curd and buttermilk.
- Avoid all fermented food and all bakery food items.
- Avoid whey and fine flour.
- No cold drinks, ice creams, fast food (like pizzas), sauces and Ketchup.
- No fruit jams, preserved juices or preserved foods.
- Avoid sweets, chocolates and paneer.
- No dried fruits (almonds and raisins are okay).
- No tobacco or alcohol.
- Avoid common table salt (rock salt in small quantities is okay).
- All non-vegetarian food should be avoided (only boiled eggs, some types of fish with our permission).
- Avoid red chiles, green chiles, chile powder, garlic, onion, etc.
- No fried food items.
- No milk shakes, no fruit salad , no milk after eating fruits for half an hour