Psoriasis – 2000 Years In The Making

Originally, considered a curse from the Gods, cases of Psoriasis have been documented since the days of Greek mythology, just about 2600 years ago. Did you notice the word "myth" in mythology? However, it took centuries before Psoriasis was actually identified by Aurelius Celsus, a Roman scholar who referred to Psoriasis as "impeto" the Latin word for "attack".

The Bible makes reference to Psoriasis, but mistakenly calls it leprosy. For hundreds of years, people who suffered from Psoriasis were ostracized, often forced to ring a warning bell alerting others in their path, and to wander as homeless beggars. Their very appearance was considered unclean, some even suffered the same fate as lepers, including being burnt at the stake in the 14th century.

During the middle Ages, it was thought that all scaling conditions were leprosy. In fact, it was not until the 1700's that Psoriasis was differentiated from other skin diseases. Psoriasis was recognized as a specific and separate clinical entity in 1808 by Robert Willan who at first called it "lepra" derived from the Greek word "loops" (the epidermis) and "leps" the scale.

Finally in 1840, he renamed the disease Psoriasis – a term derived from the Greek word "psora" meaning "itch". Amazingly, Psoriasis was a disease that had been misunderstood for more than 2000 years before it was clearly defined and named to what we know it as today.

TREATMENT THROUGH THE YEARS

From the very beginning, people relied on the strength of the sun and the use of coal tar as their only form of treatment for the disease. Through the years, research and experimentation has provided more effective treatments, although a few wrong turns have been made along the way. For instance, in 1819 a suggested treatment for Psoriasis included the topical application of mercury, a gentle purging of the impurities in one's system, avoiding stimulants such as smoking and drinking, using special creams and taking a mild anti-inflammatory drug available in those days . Since there were still so many unanswered questions about Psoriasis, doctors relied on their limited expertise to help patients.

Just about 100 years ago, the so called 'effective' remedy for Psoriasis according to some doctors was to take oral doses of arsenic, phosphorus and even turpentine. Can you imagine that? General advice was to avoid overwork, sexual excesses, suckling, and any drain on the body. Spa treatments and plenty of relaxation were also recommended.

In the 1920's, the benefits of artificial light was discovered. It was during this decade that a Dr. Goeckerman at the mayo clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, offered a special regimen as a safe and effective treatment … His regime for Psoriasis consisted of a topical application of crude coal tar in the form of ointments or tar solutions, one to three times daily . For the same number of times, the excess tar was removed and the patient exposed to ultra-violet (UV) light. This was followed by a cleansing bath that removed the residual tar and scales before re-application of fresh tar. This procedure was repeated for an average of two to six weeks until the skin cleared before the patient was finally released.

HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE AFFECTED BY PSORIASIS?

It is estimated that one in every 50 people is affected by some form of Psoriasis. At the time of this report, studies in European communities showed that 5% of people had some form of Psoriasis, and a preliminary survey in Western Australia had shown that 2-3% of people were affected. This means that in Melbourne, 60,000 people had Psoriasis, and in all of Australia 630,000 to 900,000 were affected. In the United States, it is estimated that over 6 million people are affected, plus an additional 1.2 million in Canada. The numbers are astronomical and keep growing. Why do you think this is?

WHAT CAUSES PSORIASIS?

Although no-one really knows, only the effects of Psoriasis, has been well documented. It has been found that the skin of Psoriasis sufferers grows much quicker than normal skin. In all of us, the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin) grows continuously from it's under surface and a new layer is reformed every 30 days.

In Psoriasis patches, the skin reforms a complete layer of epidermis within 3 – 4 days instead of every 30 days. Hence, the extra skin become scales and in the shedding process become very itchy. This pattern is very similar to the healing process of the epidermis after an injury – except that normal skin knows when to slow down and Psoriasis skin does not.

WHAT IS PSORIASIS?

Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease which can provoke profound anxiety and distress amongst those who are affected. It is characterized by the appearance of red & dry patches covered by white to silver scales. The areas of the body mostly affected are the elbows, the knees, the scalp, the nails, the private parts, and in real severe cases, the entire body. Psoriasis can be very demoralizing.

Psoriasis first appears as little red pimples which, as the disease progresses, forms silvery scales. These scales eventually meet to form patches of various sizes. At first it is difficult to distinguish Psoriasis from other types of skin diseases. However, when the silvery scales appear, the diagnostic is confirmed. When scratching the scales because it is itching, and you want to remove them, pinhead driblets appear. I was told by my dermatologist once that in Psoriasis, if you do not bleed after removing the scales, you had a very serious problem. When I asked him what he meant, he replied "skin cancer".

IS THERE A CONNECTION?

I suggest that you give some serious thought to the following: If Psoriasis existed as far back as in Biblical days, over 2000 years ago, what possible connection can there be between then and now. There were no toxic pollutants in the air as we know it today. Fruits were plentiful and free. So what do we know of then, that could have caused Psoriasis? And why, has it become so rampant today? The answer to me is obvious.