Monday, February 18, 2013

Another view on Psoriasis

I have exchanged emails with Brian Eiland for a few years. He also works in the boating industry but in a different way from me and on a different continent. Only recently did we come to know that we both have psoriasis. Brian sent me an email a few weeks ago detailing his own self-treatment of his psoriasis and other skin issues. I am posting that email below, as written, as a guest post on my blog. Brian's methods differ from my own in some respects but I am including all of what he said, so that you can decide for yourself what to try and what to leave alone. Please note that I am only passing on this information, not endorsing it or otherwise.


Like you Dudley I spent quite a lot of time out in the sun as a result of boating and the boat business. I am fair complexion and was red headed in my youth.

At one point about 40 yrs of age I developed a scaly rash that covered much of my upper body, but particularly my arms and hands,....even the palms of my hands. I went to a dermatologies and they ran numerous test on me to try and determine some allergy. They gave me some shots of cortisone and a prescription for cortisone tablets. This was affective, but only as long as I continued to take the tablets and get shots every once in a while. They never did 'discovered' the thing that might be causing this skin reaction.

So one weekend I was down in OC MD racing catamarans, and I woke up with a little bit of a hangover (partying the night before...ha...ha). I'm having breakfast and a friend hands me an article in the local paper that discusses skin problems. Basically it says that sun exposure and alcohol consumption both act to deplete the vitamin B in your skin. That was an 'Ah Ha' moment for me. I was guilty of both sins.
I began to take Vitamin B in a regular fashion, and stopped the cortisone. It worked. To this day if I ever see that scaly condition starting to return (and often it starts between my fingers) I simply start with a heavier does of Vitamin B. Of course at my older age I don't spend as much time out in the sun, so it comes up much less often.
Of course the dermatologist emphasized an unscented soap. I used that for years, basically a unscented bar soap. But after I married my Thai wife she purchased some 'body wash' for me. I use this all the time now, even in a scented form......and not even the expensive ones. I use the very basic one offered by CVS. It keeps my skin much more subtle than ANY of the bar soaps offered.
There was one almond scented one I liked very much, but I don't see so often now. And speaking of Almonds I think they are suppose to be good for your skin? Turns out I really like almond flavored pastries in my older age. Maybe that helps with my skin as well?
I still get little bouts with psoriasis on occasions, particularly around my neck and ears and eyebrows. It got particularly bad during the past 5 years. I went to see another dermatologist, and this time was prescribed a cream called Triamcinolone 0.1%. This stuff works like magic for me.
Whenever I am having an attack, I put some of this on for several days, and eventually the redness and flakiness goes away. Often I can remain free of this condition for months now.
I am at the beginning of diabetes so I have some skin conditions associated with that, particularly in my legs and feet, and particularly in the winter months when the skin is so dry. My fingertips can get particularly dry and cracked in the winter. I have found that a 100% Lanolin Cream is a wonderful help. This is also available at CVS in small tubes,....and it goes a long way with just a small application.
And finally my last 'home remedy'.....H2O2 hydrogen peroxide.
I am concerned about skin cancer somewhere down the line. I believe I have already suffered from some 'pre-cancerous' spots on my skin. A number of years ago I read that cancerous cells need an oxygen supply (those tumors need a blood supply from which to source oxygen). Turns out they don't like too little oxygen, NOR too much oxygen !! So I began to think where I could source 'too much' oxygen easily,....why not hydrogen peroxide which is water with an extra oxygen attached, that it gives up easily??
Most us of know of 'traditional' H2O2 that you purchase at most stores,...that is at most 3% stuff. I wanted HI-TEST. I got some 35% stuff from a health food store and I keep a bottle in the freezer to preserve it. Now the full 35% stuff will practically burn your skin, so I dilute it to about half that strength, ...that is what I dab on my suspect skin spots most of the time. Occasionally I will use the full strength stuff. You need to be careful not to get it on any skin (including fingertips) other than that spot you want to treat. I use a Q-tip to apply, then throw it away so I don't accidentaly touch the other end.
I have eliminated some moles, some warts, and some definite pre-cancerous lesions on my skin. Those 'wayward cells' truly do NOT like too much oxygen. Some wayward cells might take repeated applications once or twice a day for a week. 
I have also experienced one failure to attack a pre-cancerous growth on my leg. After I had it surgically cut out I could see why my hydrogen peroxide method may not have worked. It was a very deep cone structure, so I believe what I was doing was attacking the surface cells (which appeared to be working), but I was not getting to the deeper cells in that cone structure. I have given thoughts to using a needle to inject some H2O2 into that core structure the next time, but I don't care much for needles....ha...ha. We will see, the next time.
Regards, Brian

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Cost of Psoriasis Treatment

University of California, Davis dermatologist Dr. April Armstrong has done research using data from the files of the National Psoriasis Foundation into various aspects of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis and how these conditions affect the lives of the more than 5,600 people analysed. Read about it here. 

One of the interesting things to come out of it is the high cost of treatment. 91% Of those studied have some sort of private or public health insurance. Despite that, out of pocket costs for co-pays and other costs are more than $2,500 per year for most patients and can be upward of $600 per month, or more then $7,200 per year. That is an awful lot of money to pay out for treatment, aside from what is being paid by the insurance. That can add a whole lot to the misery that you might feel from fighting these conditions.

We each have to fight it in our own way and I only really know the way that I find best for me. That is to fight it primarily by eating a very healthy diet and living a very healthy lifestyle. I don't smoke and I consume very little alcohol or sodas, all of which can have major detrimental effects on both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

You have to deal with it in the way that you can manage. But, if you are one of those people paying out enormous sums of money to doctors and specialists then your health insurance is likely paying out even larger amounts. If, while this is going on, you are abusing your body by eating all sorts of highly processed or junk food, smoking and drinking large amounts of alcohol or sodas, then think about what you are paying out unnecessarily.

We often hear the argument that it is too expensive to eat healthy, that junk or convenience food is so much cheaper and easier. Add onto your food costs for whatever you are paying out to the medical profession to treat you and that junk food is no longer so cheap. This doesn't only apply to psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, it also applies to many other conditions that are affected by diet. Many of them are self-inflicted conditions, brought on by over-eating and by eating cheap junk food.

Everyone complains about the high cost of medical insurance and of medical treatment. A major factor in the high cost of insurance is so many people refusing to take personal responsibility for the state of their bodies. We can't help it if we are born with a genetic problem that leads to a disease or health problem but we can help it if we abuse our bodies into bad health. If we do that we should not expect those who do look after themselves properly to help carry the cost of treatment.

So, please rethink the way that you eat. Work hard to clean up your bad dietary habits, get more exercise and get out into the sunshine more often. Your body and your wallet may both benefit from the changes.