Plaque Psoriasis can have a substantial impact on a person’s life. It has been linked to depression and up to 20% of patients with psoriasis have considered suicide2. Many patients feel socially stigmatized, leading to work absenteeism, low self-esteem, low confidence and psychological issues2. While in many patients, psoriasis only affects the skin, up to 42% of patients may also develop psoriatic arthritis, leading to significant daily joint pain.
Psoriasis is one of the most common autoimmune conditions in the United States, affecting roughly 7.5 million people. This condition typically affects men and women, and the age of onset for psoriasis occurs during 30s and 50-701. According to recent research, the incidence of psoriasis is on the rise and the economic burden for treatment is up to 4.3 billion dollars1, 2.
The most common form of psoriasis is plaque psoriasis; other types of psoriasis include: guttate, pustular, erythrodemic, inverse and nail psoriasis1. Psoriasis is considered an autoimmune condition as it involves the dysregulation of the immune system3. The body’s own immune system begins to send immune cells to the skin perpetuating a cycle of inflammation of the skin leading to psoriatic lesions3. Some patients may develop psoriatic arthritis after lesions appear, or psoriatic arthritis may develop first and later psoriatic skin lesions may appear.
What are the risk factors associated with Plaque Psoriasis1?
The contributing factors leading to plaque psoriasis are multi-factorial. Our advanced team can help discern the trigger and possible causes. Some causes and contributing factors can include:
- Alcohol use
- Vitamin D Deficiency
While the above risk factors have been shown in studies to correlate with increased incidence of psoriasis; the patient’s environmental terrain and the interplay with their genes known as, epigenetics is the most important risk determinant. The environmental terrain you are exposed to will either turn on or off genes that express autoimmune predisposition. Environmental terrain can include: water quality, air quality, nutrition quality, environmental exposure to heavy metals, pesticides, plastics, microorganisms or other toxins. This terrain also includes: quality of interpersonal relationships, satisfaction in different areas of life, history of abuse, thought patterns and efficiency of elimination.
Each autoimmune condition is characterized by a dominance of Th1 or Th2 immune pattern. Psoriasis involves a Th1 immune pattern dominance 1, 4. Promoting a balance in Th1 / Th2 immune patterns will be critical for resolution of moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. Our Naturopathic Autoimmune Specialist can help determine the imbalances in your environmental terrain, and help to shift your epigenetic picture to resolve the cause of the plaque psoriasis naturally.
What are the symptoms associated with plaque psoriasis1?
- Symmetrical psoriatic lesions
- Defined red borders
- Raised edges with thick silvery scales
Conventionally, plaque psoriasis is a chronic condition and the severity may vary over time. However, Naturopathic therapies can be a good alternative to immune suppressant medications or corticosteroids. Rather than suppress the immune system, our doctors work to uncover the underlying cause of symptoms leading to psoriasis.
What can I expect in my first visit with a Naturopathic Doctor?
- Comprehensive case history
- Family medical history review
- Physical Exam
- Detailed and comprehensive lab review
- Individualized Treatment Plans
Why should I choose Naturopathic treatments for moderate to severe plaque psoriasis versus only medications?
A medication-only approach leads to the suppression of the immune system. That approach leads to unnecessary side effects from medications, it does not treat the Th1/Th2 immune pattern imbalance, and does not address the contributing factors leading to psoriasis. Naturopathic treatment corrects the underlying factors and causes leading to a resolution of symptoms without harsh side effects. Functional Doctors believe that individualized treatment plans are essential in helping patients reach their health goals, as each person is unique with their own set of contributing factors. Treatments can include:
- Comprehensive evaluation and diagnostic testing
- Medical Nutrition
- Medical-grade vitamins and mineral supplementation
- Herbal formulations
- Lymphatic therapy
- Collaborative care tea approach with your rheumatologist, if necessary
Dr. Michelle Barraza, our Integrative Autoimmune Specialist, has treated hundreds of patients with great success; for more information about Naturopathic Medicine or our doctors, please call 480-648-1534 or message us below. Start living the life you intended, today!
1 Feldman, SR. Epidemiology, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis of psoriasis. May 2018. Uptodate.
2 Bhosle MJ, Kulkarni A, Feldman SR, Balkrishnan R. Quality of life in patients with psoriasis. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes. 2006; 4:35. doi:10.1186/1477-7525-4-35.
3 Blauvelt, A., Ehst, B. Pathophysiology of psoriasis. April 2017. Uptodate.
4 Cai Y, Fleming C, Yan J. New insights of T cells in the pathogenesis of psoriasis. Cellular and Molecular Immunology. 2012;9(4):302-309. doi:10.1038/cmi.2012.15.