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Psoriasis is a disease that causes various types of inflammation and lesions on the skin that, at best, are sore and itchy, and at worst, unsightly, painful and disfiguring, sometimes debilitating. Its cause isn’t known, but it is considered to be an immunological condition, and there are a number of typical triggers including stress and infection. Because of the social stigma, sufferers usually try to cover it up – but it is not contagious.
It is generally agreed by the medical fraternity that there is no cure for psoriasis. But there are people whose psoriasis has been cured, or at least forced into long-term remission, including mine. The very unlikely cure-source is the pod of the African sausage tree, Kigelia Africana that has also been found to be “active” against skin cancer, fungal infection, eczema, and other skin problems.
As a journalist, I know that psoriasis is a condition that has had sufferers screaming for help for a very long time. As a medical problem that relates to the immune system, it tends to attack the body and then never leave. My own introduction to the problem was via a larger than life, hugely successful (PR for an international hotel group) friend who had a child in the same class as my oldest son. I couldn’t see her condition, and nor could anyone else – unless she chose to show them. But as I got to know her, she confided that she had been to the Dead Sea to try and cure the disease, and was terribly frustrated that even that hadn’t helped for more than a short while.
The US National Institute of Health (NIH) describes psoriasis as a non-contagious immune system problem that normally occurs in adults and sometimes recurs in families. The process, it explains, is an extremely rapid “cell turnover” that causes the cells deep in the skin to rise to the surface within days. This process would normally take about a month. Causes, they say, can be anything from medication or stress, to infection or even simply dry skin conditions.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes psoriasis as “a chronic autoimmune skin disease that speeds up the growth cycle of skin cells.” Identifying a serious public health problem, it began focusing on psoriasis in 2010, which at that stage was estimated to affect about 6.7 million adult Americans. Two years later, the CDC published an “analysis” that stated amongst other things that psoriasis was “significantly associated with” both smoking and obesity. However the published paper stated that there was a need for further research.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) reported at its 67th World Health Assembly in May 2014 that psoriasis was “a chronic, noncommunicable, painful, disfiguring, and disabling disease for which there is no cure”. It also stated that people suffering from psoriasis were more at risk for a various co-morbid conditions including obesity, diabetes, stroke and various cardiovascular diseases, ulcerative colitis and liver disease. Further, the report said, as many as 42 percent of psoriasis suffers would develop psoriatic arthritis that would at very least cause pain, swelling and stiffness, and at worst would develop into permanent disability and disfigurement.
So how could there possibly be a cure for this supposedly incurable condition? I believe the key is in the very words of WHO; after all quick diagnosis and proper treatment is the key to just about any cure for disease.