Psoriasis is an inflammatory disease that mainly affects the skin and manifests itself in redness and scales (plaque psoriasis). Ninety percent of patients witnessed a stressful event after which the first patches appeared. Nervous stress – 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 – therefore has a direct influence on the triggering of the disease.
Is it possible to control psoriasis with some anti-stress methods?
Professor Antonio Costanzo, Head of Dermatology at Humanitas, spoke about it in Corriere della Sera: “It is important to engage in small anti-stress moves – said Costanzo. It is not just a psychological effect; there is a deep link between the central nervous system and skin, documented by various researches. Stress can activate the inflammation of psoriatic disease and accentuate its symptoms.
What happens when the symptoms get worse?
“The state of the skin can in turn cause more nervousness, thus creating a vicious circle that ends up negatively affecting the treatments, slowing them down or making them less effective,” explained the professor.
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.
But what should we do if the lesions and scales get worse?
“Today we have many effective treatments to choose from depending on the severity of the lesions and the condition of the individual patient – said Costanzo – ranging from topical treatments (such as creams, lotions, gels or mousse sprays) to be applied directly on 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 also available in Italy. They 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 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 to severe form,” concluded the professor.