The Symptoms and Treatment of Nail Psoriasis
Are you one of the unlucky psoriasis sufferers that have nail psoriasis on their finger or toe nails? As you know psoriasis targets about 2.5-3% of the population of the United States that is roughly 7.5 million people and about 45-50 % of those get finger and/or toe nails that are afflicted because of the auto-immune disease of psoriasis.
Left untreated, severe nails psoriasis can lead to impairment and serious social stigma. Statistics also say that about 1.5-2% of the population have psoriatic nails with no other outward appearances of a psoriasis condition.
How do you determine if you have nail psoriasis?
- If you have psoriasis. Usually no one get distressed nails unless they have a skin psoriasis condition.
- Pitting of the nails. This looks like someone took an ice pick and poked the tops of you nails and it leaves little indentations.
- Streaks in the nails. You will see long streaks of ridges that run from the nail bed all the way to the tip of the nail.
- Little discolorations underneath the nail bed. It us usually pinkish and looks like an oil droplet under the nail. This is referred to as “Salmon patch” or “Oil Drop”.
- After the oil patch and the nail grows up to the tip it will disconnect from the nail bed and turn a whitish color and may grow a thick coating of hard material under the bed like nail fungus.
- Crumbling of the nail and fall off.
What is the cause:
It is really unknown why people get psoriasis and the nail psoriasis that might follow. It is important than when you see your physician you let them know that you have psoriasis or have a family history of it. It is hard for doctors to distinguish psoriatic nails from nail fungus or other disorders.
This happens because your system does not have the proper vitamins and nutrients to sustain healthy nails. The psoriasis depletes the proper nutrients to your system and causes your nails to become infected. It appears to result from a combination of inherited genes, the immune system, and your environmental factors.
Treatment of nail psoriasis:
It all depends on the severity of your particular situation. First of all there is no cure. There is nothing you can do about it but take better care of your body. Here are some suggestions.
- Look into organic multi-vitamins, omega 3 fish oils and organic vitamin D, as well as a healthy diet for psoriasis sufferers (some people claim milk free or gluten free diets).
- If you have a mild case of nail fungus your doctor might prescribe an antifungal medication.
- In some cases it might be appropriate to remove the nail completely. If this is your situation then your doctor will prescribe you an ointment that you will apply to your nail for one week after which your nail will fall off without pain or any chance of bleeding.
- The nail is a hard area to apply medication to but the doctor may prescribe ointments like a vitamin A or D derivatives, a steroid cream or other topical treatments.
- UV Light Therapy for psoriasis is also an option. UV B light is a proven psoriasis treatment.
- New treatments of psoriasis like, systemic medications, these are medications that are given orally or by injections to slow down the immune system. These would include including methrotrexate pills and injections Entracept [Enbrel], Infliximab [Remicade]), as well as Adalimumab [Humira].
Your physician may recommend a combination of one or more of these treatments together. Combinations of these treatments in severe cases seem to work very well for most patients.
Home remedies to treat your nails include:
Prevention is the number one rule of thumb. Trauma to the nail may cause an outbreak just as it does with skin psoriasis so try to avoid any abuse to the ends of your fingers. Keep your hands well groomed like finger nails trimmed, kept neat and clean and do not dig or pick aggressively under the finger nails when cleaning. Use a mild soap with no fragrance or perfumes.
The outlook is promising:
As we have mentioned there is no cure for nail psoriasis or skin psoriasis. The medications and treatments described above are proven methods and techniques that make living with your condition better. These will allow you to live a productive and healthy life without the social stigma that comes with outbreaks of your psoriatic condition. Research and development is getting better every day with the help of people like you and I who continue to support noble causes like psoriasis research.