Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Biologic Treatment of Psoriasis

Would you intentionally put into your body substances that you know will do you lots of damage in the long term? Many people do, without thinking twice about the effects of what they are doing. Smokers do it all the time. Drug addicts trash their bodies every day because they cannot break free of their extremely destructive habit. The sad part is that at some stage most of them were in really good health and took the insane decision to start putting these poisons into their bodies, knowing full well what they have done to other people.

Getting back to my question and rephrasing it somewhat, would you intentionally put medicinal substances into your body that you know will harm you and may well kill you, maybe in 6 months or in 10 years? Would you do this on the say of your doctor without first researching for yourself what the implications are? It is all very well to take a decision to go ahead after you have all of the info but don't do so just because your doctor tells you to.

I'm referring here particularly to the biologic drugs that have become very fashionable for treating psoriasis and arthritis. The range of conditions for which they are now being prescribed is expanding, with digestive and other conditions now also included. I am not going to mention any trade names, you need only to watch the TV advertisements to see them for yourself. When you see those advertisements, pay close attention to the side effects that are listed for them. They include some very dangerous conditions, some of which can be fatal. In plain and simple English, these drugs can and sometimes do kill people.

The manufacturers are required by law to declare these side effects because they are a definite risk. It doesn't mean that only one person has died and it might have been from the drug, it means that there are multiple cases. A lady who I knew started treatment with biologics for arthritis. Within 6 months she had lung problems, contracted TB and had died. She, or her medical insurance, paid a lot of money to the drug company for her treatment and it killed her.

The warnings for these treatments include to not start them if you have any infections, cold, flu etc because they weaken your immune system, which may not be able to fight the infections after the treatment begins. Why would I want to weaken my immune system? Am I crazy? My immune system is what protects me from all sorts of bad things in the air, in the water, on the ground, on any surfaces that I touch, in the food that I eat. Weakening my immune system opens multiple doors to bad things that I do not want to host in my body.

They use these treatments based on the argument that psoriasis, arthritis and many other conditions are rooted in an over-active immune system. It really is an immune system that is out of balance rather than over-active. There may be an over-active trigger that kicks in psoriasis or arthritis but we should be weakening that trigger, not the whole immune system.

There are many foods that work to balance the immune system and there are many others that harm the immune system. Rather than taking artificial chemicals to weaken the immune system we should be eating more of the foods that balance the immune system and less or none of those that harm it. It also costs a lot less money to eat properly than to inject these very expensive chemicals.

You may think that the risk of serious disease or death is worth the easy route to treating your psoriasis. My choice is to rather eat properly and stay away from those drugs.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Balancing your Immune System

Psoriasis is a skin condition that afflicts around 2-3% of the world population. That means that you probably know a few people who have psoriasis and you might not even realise that they have it. It is probably only if someone has a very bad case of psoriasis that you will become aware of it because most sufferers keep the affected skin covered up and don't talk about it.

It appears as red patches on the skin that become raised above the surrounding area, then can become dry, scaly and itchy. They appear mostly on the lower back, knees, elbows, scalp and in the groin but can appear almost anywhere on the body.

Areas with scars from old injuries seem to be the most likely sites for psoriasis. When I first broke out with psoriasis, it appeared in pretty close to the reverse order to the skin injuries that I had inflicted on myself over the previous 35 years through sports, falls etc. It eventually worked all the way back to my oldest scar, from circumcision at a few days old.

If left untreated the psoriasis patches go beyond redness and itchiness and can crack and bleed. A psoriasis itch is not the mildly annoying little itch that often occurs on normal skin, it can be a painful and very persistent itch. A normal itch will generally go away as soon as it is scratched. A psoriasis itch stays with you, no matter how hard you scratch it. In fact, scratching it can change it from an itch to a burning sensation. The best way to deal with the itch is to resist scratching it. The itch is easier to tolerate than the burn from scratching, so leave it alone. Instead, wipe on a dab of moisturiser or hydro-cortisone cream to soothe the area.

What is happening to cause the redness and raised patches of skin is that the skin is growing too fast in that particular area, at about 6 times the speed that it should. The immune system has received an incorrect message that the particular area is damaged and is trying to repair it, hence the rapid growth. The new skin is pushed toward the surface faster than the natural wearing down and sloughing of the skin can get rid of it, so it builds up the thickness.

In biblical times, psoriasis was thought to be the same as leprosy. So, when you read of lepers being ostricised by society in ancient times, many of them were psoriatics rather than lepers. Be glad that you live in modern more enlightened times but be aware that there are still many people who are shunned by their families and friends due to lack of knowledge.

Psoriasis is entirely non-contagious. Nobody can catch it from anyone else, no-matter how close the contact between them. You cannot catch it by touching someone else, wearing their clothes or even exchanging body fluids through kissing, sex or using the same utensils.

It is an auto-immune condition. It is a defect in the immune system of the person who has psoriasis. This puts it into the same category as arthritis, lupus, type 1 diabetes and many other conditions that have no obvious cause and cannot be passed from one person to another.

It seems on casual thought that the immune system is too strong, trying to repair something that is not damaged. However, this is not so. The immune system is out of balance rather than being too strong. If you treat it by weakening it, you will weaken all aspects of the immune system and open up opportunities for bad things to attack. Instead, you should do all that you can to balance your immune system. Balancing your immune system will weaken those aspects that are too strong and are over-reacting to stimuli and it will strengthen those aspects that are too weak, closing the door for possible infections through those weaknesses.