Psoriasis & Psoriatic Arthritis
Psoriasis is a chronic, immune-mediated disease caused when skin cells over-produce
and accumulate on the surface causing red, scaly plaques that may itch and bleed. It is a
noncontagious, lifelong skin disease that has been diagnosed in 4.5 million adults in the
United States. This chronic inflammation is driven by tumor necrosis factor alpha, or
TNF-alpha, a cytokine involved in the body's normal immune response. TNF-alpha is
found at increased levels in psoriatic plaques and plays a crucial part in their formation
and continued existence. In Europe, psoriasis affects between 1-5 percent of the
There are five types of psoriasis.
Plaque: Most common form of the disease
Guttate: Appears as small red spots on the skin
Inverse: Occurs in armpits, groin and skin folds
Pustular: White blisters surrounded by red skin
Erythrodermic: Intense redness over large areas
Psoriasis can have a great impact on a person's quality of life. The itchiness, redness,
sores and flaking, can cause extreme physical discomfort. Depending on the area of the
body, it can also lead to problems in intimate relationships and may result in severe
About 10-30 percent of people suffered from psoriasis also develop psoriatic arthritis.
The symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include pain, stiffness and swelling in and around the
joints. Early treatment of psoriatic arthritis can relieve pain and inflammation and possibly
help prevent progressive joint involvement and damage.
Medical treatments include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as
aspirin and ibuprofen, and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) such as
Enbrel and Remicade. Other treatment may include meditation, relaxation, massage and
The common supplements reported to be beneficial for people with psoriatic arthritis are
glucosamine, chondroitin, methylsulfonylmethane and S-adenosylmethionine (SAM-e).
Both glucosamine and chondroitin occur naturally in the body. Glucosamine is believed to
promote the formation and repair of cartilage while chondroitin may promote water
retention and elasticity in cartilage and inhibit enzymes that break down cartilage. Very
few side effects have been reported for these supplements, and the long-term safety is
fairly well established. MSM is a natural sulfur compound, and sulfur is needed by the
body to maintain healthy connective tissue and joint function. Thus, people believe MSM
may relieve pain and have anti-inflammatory properties. SAM-e is a stabilized, synthetic
form of a chemical produced naturally in all animals. It helps the body make and regulate
hormones, cell membranes and neurotransmitters that affect mood. SAM-e may
contribute to the building blocks for cartilage and is involved in making glutathione.
THIS ARTICLE IS FOR YOUR REFERENCE ONLY. IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTION,
YOU SHOULD CONSULT WITH YOUR DOCTOR.