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Psoriasis Print E-mail
by Ron Kennedy, M.D., Santa Rosa, CA

Dr. Kennedy Psoriasis is a common skin disease, characterized by thickened patches of inflamed, red skin. Elbows, knees, the groin area, genitalia, arms, legs, scalp and nails are the most common areas affected often appearing in the same place on both sides of the body. The patches can range from .04" to 2.5" in size.

Normally, skin cells mature and shed after about four weeks. In psoriasis cell maturation speeds up, taking only three to four days. The lower layer of skin cells divides more rapidly than normal and dead cells accumulate in thick patches on the skin's outermost layer (the epidermis). Inflammation, breakdown with cracking and weeping wounds, and a waxy appearance give the usual appearance of psoriasis.

The cause of psoriasis is not known for certain, but a genetic factor is present. Although a specific autoantibody has not been identified, autoimmunity is strongly suspected to be an underlying causative factor.

Autoimmune disorders are caused when the body's immune system, which is meant to defend the body against bacteria, viruses, and any other foreign product, malfunctions and produces antibodies against healthy tissue, cells and organs.

Other autoimmune diseases are sometimes seen in families with one member with psoriasis. Certain conditions may trigger attacks — infection, certain drugs, climate, hormonal factors and smoking. Four to five million Americans have psoriasis. In about 5 percent arthritis will develop. In most of these cases, joint involvement will occur after the onset of lesions. The arthritis is usually mild, affecting only a few joints, and spontaneous remissions occur.

The symptoms and appearance are hard to mistake for anything else, after once seen: skin inflammation and breakdown with cracking and weeping wounds leaving a waxy appearance to the skin.

Conventional treatment involves the use of Prednisone and other corticosteroids. Often patients are unable to tolerate the toxic side effects of these drugs.

The alternative, nutritional medicine approach is to identify hidden allergies by blood test and avoid those allergens (primarily foods). Also enzyme potentiated desensitization holds hope for putting the disease in long term remission.

As with all autoimmune disorders, detoxification and dietary changes are usually helpful. For best results this should be done under the supervision of a doctor experienced in nutritional medicine.

The approach used in homeopathy is to attempt to restore the balance of the system using dilute solutions of natural substances specific to the disorder.

The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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