It mainly affects the skin and it manifests with redness and scales that cover the skin of the patient. Psoriasis, an inflammatory disease, is almost always caused by a stressful event after which the first patches appear. In fact, 90% of patients testify that they are victims of nervous stress. We see how this symptom, in addition to factors such as smoking, obesity and the presence of other diseases that can contribute to the severity and progression of the disease, has a direct influence on the triggering of the disease. We talked about this issue with Professor Antonio Costanzo, head of dermatology at Humanitas.
Do anti-stress methods work against psoriasis?
The onset of psoriasis is an exaggerated sign of defense of the immune system that causes an increase in the proliferation of skin cells, which thus begin to produce scales and red patches. The patches can appear anywhere in the body, although the areas most affected by the disease are the scalp, elbows, palms of the hands and the soles of the feet, nails and knees. “If you suffer from psoriasis it is important to engage in small anti-stress techniques – said Costanzo. It is not only a psychological effect, there is a deep link between the central nervous system and skin, documented by several studies, but stress can activate the inflammation of psoriatic disease and accentuate its symptoms. In addition – continues the specialist – the state of the skin can in turn cause more nervousness, thus giving rise to a vicious circle that ends up affecting negatively also on the treatments, slowing them down or making them less effective.
The most effective treatments against psoriasis
“Today we have many effective treatments against psoriasis to choose from according to the severity of the lesions and the conditions of the individual patient – said Costanzo – ranging from topical treatments (such as creams, lotions, gels or mousse sprays) to be applied directly to the skin, to traditional systemic treatments (such as cyclosporine and methotrexate). Moreover, several biological drugs (etanercept, adalimumab, also approved for pediatric use, as well as infilximab, ustekinumab, secukinumab, ixekizumab) are now available in Italy, which have an excellent safety profile and often allow obtaining a completely ‘clean’ skin in cases of psoriasis or more severe psoriatic arthritis that have not responded or for which the standard therapies are contraindicated. Finally, new drugs have given promising results in more advanced stages of experimentation, such as risankizumab, guselkumab and tildrakizumab, being studied in patients with psoriasis in moderate severe form.