Living With the Discomfort of Psoriasis
By Anne Wolski
Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease that is characterised by scaling and inflammation of the skin. It most often occurs on the elbows, knees, other parts of the legs, scalp, lower back, face, palms, and soles of the feet, but they can occur on skin anywhere on the body. The disease may also affect the fingernails, the toenails, and the soft tissues of the genitals and inside the mouth.
Psoriasis occurs when skin cells quickly rise from their origin below the surface of the skin and pile up on the surface before they have a chance to mature. In about one-third of the cases, there is a family history of psoriasis.
Approximately 30 percent of people with psoriasis experience joint inflammation that produces symptoms of arthritis. This condition is called psoriatic arthritis.
My own battle with this condtion began when I was in my early twenties. The first signs were simply a reddening of the elbows and knees. Of course, I took little notice of this. However, it didn't take long before the scaly patches appeared and began to spread to my knuckles, ankles and some small areas on my lower legs. I tried several moisturising lotions but nothing seemed to work. I then sought the advice of my physician who diagnosed my condition as Psoriasis.
So began a lifetime of applying corticosteroid creams and coaltar lotions to the affected areas of my body. This is usually the first type of treatment prescribed for the condition.
At times, I experienced significant physical discomfort. Itching and pain interfered with basic functions, such as sleep. This in turn left me feeling constantly tired and unable to cope with day-to-day chores, thus putting a strain on my family relationships. I began to feel self-conscious about my appearance and had a poor self-image that stemmed from fear of public rejection. Psychological distresses in turn lead to significant depression and social isolation.
I noticed that there were times when my skin worsened, then improveed. I found that several things caused flareups including infections, stress, and changes in climate that dry the skin. Also, certain medicines seemed to trigger an outbreak or worsen the disease.
As the years progressed, so too did the disease. I eventually had psoriasis on my knuckles, elbows, finger joints, knees, lower legs, feet, and even the webbing of my toes. I also had it in my scalp and a large area of my lower back. I was miserable most of the time because of the constant itching and discomfort.
I had tried every treatment that I heard of and had found only minimal relief. By this time, I had virtually given up hope that I would ever lead a normal life without this affliction.
However, a few years ago, a friend convinced me to see a naturopath. I didn't expect much from him but he surprised me. He advised me to try emu oil, something I hadn't yet tried. I took his advice and bought a bottle of emu oil capsules which I took religiously. Within weeks, the scaly patches had all but disappeared from my knuckles and lower legs. By a couple of months, I had no outward signs of the disease and, for the first time in many years, I felt comfortable with my appearance. Because I was no longer itching all of the time, my sleep patterns improved and so did my ability to cope with life in general.
I took the full dose for about six months and then started taking just one capsule per day as a maintenance dose. I still take that every day and will do so for the rest of my life.
So, for all of those who suffer from psoriasis or eczema, take my advice. Give the emu oil a try. It certainly improved my quality of life and I believe that the advice given to me by that naturopath is the best advice I was ever given.
Psoriasis is an incurable disease and, once you have it, you will always have it. The point is that you don't have to let it rule your life. You can live relatively free of this condition just by taking that one step.
Copyright 2005 Anne Wolski
About The Author
Anne Wolski has worked in the health and welfare industry for more than 30 years. She is a co-director of http://www.pharmacybyweb.com which has online physicians who can help you with any questions you may have.