Psoriasis causes raised, red, and scaly patches to appear on the skin Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: Patients and homeopaths in the UAE have shared how the alternative medicine stream has benefitted those suffering from psoriasis, the autoimmune disease that is traditionally known to have no cure.

The insights come on the heels of World Homeopathy Day (April 10). A 40-year-old marketing executive in Dubai, who was suffering from psoriasis for 15 years, said he started feeling much better after starting homeopathy over a year ago.

“I was struggling with big patches on my whole body and scalp. It was irritating me. I was unable to sleep due to itching,” he recollected.

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Nearly all patches are now gone Image Credit: Supplied

Today, almost all the patches on his body have disappeared and he is living a normal life.

When a 10-year-old expat boy in Sharjah was diagnosed with psoriasis five years ago, his parents found themselves in a helpless state.

Psoriasis in a child’s foot before and after the treatment. Image Credit: Supplied

“We were concerned about using strong medicines and we didn’t get any effective treatment for long,” said his father, who was deeply worried about psoriasis that mainly affected his son’s feet.

“Then my brother and his wife, who are allopathic doctors back home, suggested us to go for homeopathic treatment. After four months of homeopathic treatment, our son was completely cured. It was a big blessing for our child,” he said.

A 48–year-old teacher in Dubai said she was struggling with skin peeling off on both her hands due to the severity of the condition.

“I felt I was in good hands only after I started seeing some difference in my condition after I began taking homeo medicines three years ago. Now, there is a great change with my palm psoriasis. It has made an immense difference in my life,” she added.

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A patient's hand seen before and after treatment Image Credit: Supplied

Doctors speak

Dr Neetu Nicholas, a homeopath practising at Jupiter Al Nahda Polyclinic and Houston Clinic in Dubai, said doctors here have been seeing an increase in the incidence of psoriasis cases in recent years, mostly due to the lifestyle and stress related factors.

Dr Neetu Nicholas

“Psoriasis cases reporting to us are the highest among all the skin complaints and it takes a long time to treat those patients,” she told Gulf News. “Psoriasis affects all ages and mostly among middle-aged people, but we have even seen it among kids also. People tend to think that this is a contagious disease due to its appearance, but it is not,” Dr Neetu clarified.

She said psoriasis can be effectively treated with homeopathy if the patient seeks treatment at the earliest signs of the disease. Psoriasis is not merely a skin disorder but rather a multisystem inflammatory disease with negative implications for the patient’s overall health, she pointed out.

“It is associated with a variety of psychosocial symptoms, including guilt, embarrassment or helplessness. Poor self-esteem and low self-worth sometimes lead to social isolation. The risks for anxiety, neurotic disorders and sleep problems are doubled among psoriasis sufferers compared to those without the disease. Although psoriasis is just a minor irritation for some people, it can have a significant impact on the quality of life for those who are more severely affected.”

Multifactorial disease

Dr Alphons D’Souza

Dr Alphons D’Souza from Unicare Medical Centre in Dubai said: “Psoriasis is a multifactorial disease where an individual’s physical and emotional aspects play a major role. A homeopath tries to understand and assess the factors contributing to it through a detailed analysis and treats it accordingly. A longer period of follow up and observation is needed while treating psoriasis.”

Dr Abdul Rasheed from Modern Medical Centre in Al Ain also said that good outcomes are expected when a patient undergoes long-term treatment.

Dr Abdul Rasheed

“It helps in finding all the aspects related to the psychosomatic factors leading to the skin condition and then prevent its complications. We counsel the patients to adopt a healthy lifestyle and avoid aggravating factors,” he added.

How homeo helps

According to the homeopaths, homeopathy eases psoriasis without side effects and improves the lives of those living with psoriasis. Homeopathy looks at psoriasis as a disturbance of normal bodily functioning and treats the individual with psoriasis based on one’s distinctive symptoms as no two individuals with psoriasis have the same symptoms of the disorder.

They said homeopathy medicines remain successful in treating psoriasis by moderating the overactive immune system. It strengthens the immune system, improves digestion and absorption. This allows the body to get the necessary nutrients which are essential for healthy life.

Homeopathy has the potential to stimulate body’s natural healing capacity and restore the disturbed immune system and misconceptions about the disease. Additionally, homeopathy is highly effective for treating stress which can be a precursor for psoriasis, they added.

What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes raised, red, scaly patches to appear on the skin. It typically affects the outside of the elbows, knees or scalp, though it can appear on any part of the body. Psoriasis occurs when skin cells are replaced more quickly than usual. Our body produces new skin cells in the deepest layer of skin. These skin cells gradually move up through the layers of skin until they reach the outermost level, where they die and flake off. This whole process normally takes around three to four weeks. However, in people with psoriasis, this process only takes about three to seven days. As a result, cells that are not fully mature build up rapidly on the surface of the skin, causing flaky, crusty red patches covered with silvery scales.

Causes and risk factors

Psoriasis has a strong hereditary component. Family history of psoriasis is a major risk factor.

It’s not known what exactly causes this problem with the immune system, although certain genes and environmental triggers may play a role, such as constant exposure to sun, Vitamin D deficiency, certain infections, certain medications skin injuries, dry skin, lack of nutrition and hormonal changes. In countries of the Middle East, Vitamin D deficiency has been found to be one of the major triggers of psoriasis.

Stress is a common trigger for a psoriasis flare. At the same time, a psoriasis flare can also cause stress. When we have stress, our body consumes extra energy and nutrients which can lead to low immunity, insomnia, unhealthy food habits, smoking, alcoholism, hormonal imbalances and digestive problems.

Management of psoriasis

Managing life with psoriasis is not always easy. Patients should avoid extremes of climate. Warm weather can often improve Psoriasis because of natural sunlight and humidity.

The appearance of psoriasis plaques can have a direct impact on your self-esteem. Depression and anxiety can reduce the quality of life. As psoriasis may impact relationships, educating the patient, immediate family and friends is important. Counseling will be a great help.

People with Psoriasis are more likely to become depressed. Relaxation techniques like Yoga and meditation may help to prevent stress from psoriasis, which in turn reduces inflammation - the very thing that can cause a psoriasis flare-up.

Vitamin D deficiencies have been linked to psoriasis. While a deficiency doesn’t seem to cause psoriasis outright, it may impair the body’s ability to keep the skin healthy. This may increase flares. When taken in healthy doses, vitamin D can help to treat Psoriasis.

Strengthening the immune system by healthy eating habits, drinking plenty of water, half an hour daily exercise and adequate sleep is very important.