Distinguishing Psoriasis from Eczema: New Diagnostic Criteria

27 Feb

Psoriasis and eczema often have a similar appearance, creating some confusion in diagnosing these inflammatory skin conditions. Psoriasis and eczema are both non-contagious, inflammatory skin disorders that can affect overall health. Psoriasis is considered a systemic disease, and involves systemic inflammation that can even affect internal organs. Typical symptoms are flaky patches on the skin of varying size, creating severe itching sensations and even changes in fingernails and toenails. It’s estimated that nearly 125 million people worldwide currently suffer from psoriasis. Eczema presents as redness, blistering, weeping, scabbing, and/or scaling – and can be triggered by different environmental factors. Those with eczema often have other allergies, leading most researchers to believe that both eczema and psoriasis are largely based on immune dysfunction.
Typically, these conditions are diagnosed by analyzing tissue samples – but dermatologists usually use their own experience and examination to determine whether the patient presents with psoriasis or eczema. A study out of Munich, however, has discovered underlying cellular processes of both conditions, leading to the discovery of significant differences that can change how these skin diseases are diagnosed. Based on these findings, researchers have even developed diagnostic protocols that effectively differentiate between the two conditions – leading to more effective treatment strategies.
Both diseases can vary in appearance from patient to patient, so researchers studied 24 patients suffering from both psoriasis and eczema. By analyzing the diseases at the molecular level, researchers were able to observe differences between the two conditions. This development is important, because although research has been unveiling effective treatments for both psoriasis and eczema, these treatments are only effective in one disease or the other. This makes it difficult for patients who are diagnosed with the wrong disease. Furthermore, the cost of these treatments has a considerable economic impact. Being able to make a definite diagnosis the first time not only saves time and hassle for the patient, but relieves a large burden from the healthcare system as a whole.
The new diagnostic test compares samples of diseased and healthy skin – allowing physicians to correctly diagnose patients in just 24 hours. The introduction of personalized treatments for inflammatory skin diseases is critical, as many patients become frustrated with ineffective treatments. Current treatments for inflammatory skin disorders include corticosteroid creams, antibiotics, oral antihistamines, and other drugs that affect the immune system. However, there are some concerns with Immunomodulators used in these types of conditions, especially long-term effects. For this reason, many patients turn to natural and alternative therapies for the treatment of psoriasis or eczema. There are dietary alternatives, even pre-made dietary plans that can encourage the body decrease its production of inflammatory molecules. Other natural routes include the use of herbal remedies like oils for skin-soothing effects. Systemic enzymes have also proven effective in inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. Systemic enzymes like serrapeptase and nattokinase are even useful in more common inflammatory skin conditions like acne. By helping to naturally promote normal function of the immune system, systemic enzymes normalize biochemical patterns and localized inflammation involved in the progression of such diseases.


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