Psoriasis affects around 2% of the UK population, starting at any age, but most often adults under 35, men and women equally, with a tendency running in families. A long-term disorder featuring an increased production of skin cells, its cause isn’t fully understood but is thought to be related to the immune system. Normally, skin cells are replaced every three to four weeks, but in psoriasis, this occurs every three to seven days, resulting in a build-up of skin cells as psoriatic plaques. It usually involves periods when there may be no or mild symptoms, followed by times when symptoms are more severe. The severity varies between people. Most are only affected with small patches, which can be itchy or sore, and for some it’s just a minor irritation, but for others it can have a major effect on quality of life. The plaques are most common on elbows, knees, the scalp and lower back, but can appear anywhere on the body.
It’s not contagious but there is no cure, although a range of treatments can improve symptoms and the appearance of skin patches. There are many different types including plaque psoriasis (the commonest), scalp psoriasis, nail psoriasis, and ‘guttate’ psoriasis, which presents as small droplet shapes and may be related to a strep throat infection.
Med diet health boost
A large study, assessing how closely participants’ diets were to a Mediterranean diet, showed a protective effect. In around 17 years of follow-up, the risk of developing Crohn’s disease in people whose diet was at the Mediterranean end of the spectrum was halved in comparison with those eating other diets, regardless of age, sex and other factors. No such protective effect was apparent for ulcerative colitis.
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