Psoriasis is an auto-immune disorder which is characterized by red and flaky patches on the skin. These are also known as scales or plaques. It appears on your skin but psoriasis is likely to generate from within. Yes, psoriasis begins deeps inside your immune system. It stems from your T-cells which is a type of white blood cell. These cells are meant to protect the body from diseases and infections. However, in some cases, they mistakenly trigger some immune responses which lead to psoriasis symptoms.
What are the risk factors of psoriasis?
Psoriasis can be developed by anyone. However, certain factors make a person more prone to this skin condition. They include:
Viral or bacterial infections
What are the symptoms of psoriasis?
Signs and symptoms of psoriasis are different for every individual. The commoner symptoms include:
Red patches on the skin with a silvery patchScaling spots on the skinBurning, soreness, and itchinessDry and cracked skinStiff jointsRidged nailsAre there any natural treatments for psoriasis?
Sadly, psoriasis is a skin condition which has no cure. However, there are plenty of natural cures which can temporarily relieve the symptoms of this skin condition and reduce dryness.
Here’s a list of the tried and tested natural remedies for treating psoriasis. Keep reading…
- Aloe vera
Aloe vera is used for treating a wide variety of skin ailments. The gel of this plant has the ability to treat acne, reduce the signs of aging and also treat psoriasis symptoms to a great extent. Research shows that applying this gel on the affected areas can reduce dryness, redness and flaky skin due to psoriasis. Only the natural gel should be used because the supplement form of it is deemed ineffective.
- Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is touted to be one of the healthiest fluids on the planet. Raw enzymes, healthy bacteria and the ability to improve bodily functions are some of the potential health benefits of ACV. Besides these, ACV is also known to relieve psoriasis symptoms. Applying diluted ACV on the scalp can relieve psoriasis. Mix ACV with water in a 1:1 ratio and apply on the affected area. Wash it off once the liquid has dried off. Don’t forget to moisturize your skin soon after as ACV may lead to dryness.
- Salt bath
Over-exposure to warm water can make your symptoms even worse. However, soaking in a bath of lukewarm water with some Epsom salt can provide relief from dryness and itchy skin. Add two cups of Epsom salt to your bath water and soak in it for about 15 minutes. This will help in removing the scales and reducing itching.
- Keep your skin hydrated
Moisturize your skin properly. Keep your skin hydrated as much as possible to keep scales and dryness away. This will also speed up the healing process. Opt for an all-natural moisturizer to keep your skin from feeling dry. Apply it soon after you bathe to prevent dry skin. Apply extra virgin olive oil for this purpose.
- Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is believed to be toxic when ingested. But the topical use of this oil is known to have benefits. It is effective in treating psoriasis. When applied to the skin, tea tree oil is known to loosen the scales and prevent infectious damage.
This spice is the perfect natural remedy for a wide variety of ailments. Turmeric is known to minimize psoriasis flare-ups. You can sprinkle it on your food, take it in the form of pills or supplements; irrespective of the technique, turmeric is an effective remedy for psoriasis.
- Eat healthy foods
Unhealthy habits like smoking and an unbalanced diet are one of the major reasons responsible for psoriasis flare-ups. Stop consuming red meats and unhealthy fats. Consume more seeds, nuts, cold-water fish and omega 3 fatty acids for reducing inflammation due to psoriasis.
Beware of the silent killer
By Dr Sudhir Koganti
One may wonder what all this fuss about high blood pressure is. Hypertension causes many cardiovascular diseases that include stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and dementia, thus putting a huge burden on healthcare globally due to morbidity, mortality and associated costs. Last but not least, the public need to be aware of the correct treatment for high blood pressure.
Every year, the World Hypertension Day is celebrated on the 17th of May to increase awareness about this silent killer among general public. International Society of Hypertension along with World Hypertension League has designated the month of May as “May Measurement Month.”
The aim of this initiative is to screen as many people as possible that are over the age of 18 years for suspected hypertension. This strategy would greatly enhance in identifying silent or undiagnosed hypertensives so that they can be targeted with guideline directed lifestyle, dietary advice and treatment.
Awareness on the lower threshold of blood pressure reading required to label an individual as hypertensive is also required. American Heart Association guidelines released in 2017 clearly stipulate that a blood pressure reading of over 130/80 is now considered as stage 1 hypertension. However, the job of a cardiologist doesn’t stop with diagnosis but actually starts there. Once someone is labelled as hypertensive, it needs to be established if it is true or an entity called white coat hypertension.
Furthermore, investigations may have to be carried out to see if hypertension is secondary to a cause. Once diagnosed, a decision needs to be taken if lifestyle modification can be adopted or treatment needs to be initiated early.
Lifestyle modifications include six key steps and they are:
• Get expert advice from your doctor to help you understand your results;
• Lower salt/sodium to prevent excess fluid in the blood, which strains blood vessels;
• Eat more fruits and veggies – particularly potassium-rich ones – to balance out sodium in the blood;
• Exercise – it makes the heart stronger, putting less strain on blood vessels;
• Quit smoking – constituents of tobacco smoke damages blood vessel linings; and
• Monitor your blood pressure at home
As per studies and data, thousands of people are on wrong treatment for hypertension with a class of drugs called Betablockers (Atenolol, Metoprolol etc) being prescribed as first line or second line agent.
Betablockers have been phased out as first line or second line drugs to treat hypertension a while ago, unless there is concomitant coronary artery disease or heart failure. In fact, the same holds for other concomitant conditions too such as kidney disease, stroke etc.
Essentially, the key message is one prescription does not fit all and it need to be tailored to the individual in a dedicated specialist clinic. People need to actively undergo blood pressure screening of themselves.
They need to nudge their relatives and friends in the month of May and seek expert advice on how to manage and monitor this silent killer over the long run to lead an active and healthy life. (Writer is Consultant Cardiologist, Citizens Hospitals, Nallagandla, Serilingampally)
Dr Sudhir Koganti
Jawless fish may hold key to effective brain cancer treatment
A chemical found in jawless parasitic fish can be used to deliver anti-cancer drugs directly to brain tumours, as well as lead to more effective treatments for trauma and stroke, a study has found.
The research, published in the journal Science Advances, found that molecules from the immune system of the parasitic sea lamprey may also be combined with a wide array of other therapies, offering hope to treat disorders like multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease or even traumatic injuries.
“We believe it could be applied as a platform technology across multiple conditions,” said Eric Shusta, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US.
When injected into the bloodstream, many drugs cannot reach targets in the brain as the blood-brain barrier prevents large molecules from leaving the blood vessels in the brain, researchers said.
In conditions such as brain cancer, stroke, trauma and multiple sclerosis, however, the barrier becomes leaky in and around the disease locations, researchers said.
The study found that leaky barrier offers a unique point of entry, allowing molecules to access the brain and deliver drugs precisely on target.
“Molecules like this normally couldn’t ferry cargo into the brain, but anywhere there’s a blood-brain barrier disruption, they can deliver drugs right to the site of pathology,” Shusta said in a statement.
Researchers said that the technology takes advantage of the fact that many diseases disrupt body’s natural defense mechanism – the blood-brain barrier, which lines the blood vessels of the central nervous system, protecting the brain from circulating toxins or pathogens.
They also linked the molecules to a chemotherapy called doxorubicin. The treatment prolonged survival in mouse models of glioblastoma, an incurable cancer.
“This could be a way to hold therapies in place that don’t otherwise accumulate well in the brain so they can be more effective,” said Ben Umlauf from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“There are several disease processes that disrupt the blood-brain barrier and we could conceive of delivering a variety of different therapies with these molecules,” said John Kuo from the University of Texas in the US.
Life expectancy linked to a person’s walking speed
People who walk slowly have a lower life expectancy than those who walk fast, a recent study has claimed. According to the study published in the Journal of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, those with a habitually fast walking pace have a long life expectancy across all levels of weight status – from underweight to morbidly obese.
Underweight individuals with a slow walking pace had the lowest life expectancy (an average of 64.8 years for men, 72.4 years for women). The same pattern of results was found for waist circumference measurements.
Professor Tom Yates, the lead author of the study, said, “Our findings could help clarify the relative importance of physical fitness compared to body weight on the life expectancy of individuals. In other words, the findings suggest that perhaps physical fitness is a better indicator of life expectancy than body mass index (BMI) and that encouraging the population to engage in brisk walking may add years to their lives.”
Dr Francesco Zaccardi, co-author of the study, said, “Studies published so far have mainly shown the impact of body weight and physical fitness on mortality in terms of relative risk, for example, a 20 per cent relative increase of risk of death for every 5 kilograms per metres squared increase, compared to a reference value of a BMI of 25 kilograms per metres squared (the threshold BMI between normal weight and overweight).”
Last year, Professor Yates and his team showed that middle-aged people who reported that they are slow walkers were at higher risk of heart-related disease compared to the general population.
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