Alopecia

January 16, 2017

ALOPECIA

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease in which hair loss occurs in some or all areas of the body due to the body misrecognizing its own cells as a threat, and destroying them as a result. In this case, the ‘threatening’ cells are the body’s hair follicles. This condition mainly occurs on the scalp, with small bald patches appearing on usually one side of the head, but can spread to the scalp causing total baldness (Alopecia totalis), or the entire body (Alopecia universalis). This condition can occur at any age, but usually first develops in teenagers and children. Women and men are equally likely to get the disease, and there is no differentiation of susceptibility between races. When developed at an older age, symptoms are usually milder and last for shorter periods. With the common, milder cases, the symptoms of this disease will subside without requiring treatment. 50% of sufferers will recover after 1 year (with possible reoccurrences), while 10% will go on to develop alopecia totalis or alopecia universalis. The causes of this disease are both environmental and genetic. Alopecia is a polygenic disease, meaning that both parents must contribute a number of specific genes in order for a child to develop it. In identical twins, there is only a 55% chance that if one has the disease, the other will develop it too, and theref

December 23, 2016

PSORIASIS

Psoriasis is a long -term autoimmune disease which affects the skin, resulting patches of red, scaly skin, which are typically extremely itchy and painful. This condition affects 2% of Australia’s population and conditions can vary from localized in one area, to complete body coverage. Common problem areas for psoriasis are: knees, elbows, scalp, torso, palms, and the soles of feet.   It is known to have a varying or fluctuating course, where the disease improves and then worsens, and is thought to be incurable but not untreatable. Psoriasis can occur in anyone from babies, to elderly people, but the most common age of diagnosis is in early adult years.   This chronic disease is caused the rapid increase in the production of skin cells, which, when these skin cells reach the surface and die, their sheer volume causes a build-up, and raised red plaques covered in white scales appear. This increase in the production of skin cells is caused by the immune system being ‘triggered’ by environmental factors, resulting in the production of excess inflammatory chemicals.   Studies show that people with psoriasis are more susceptible to illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and psoriasis sufferers are between 10 and 30% more likely to develop psoriatic arthritis.  

TYPES:

  • Plaque psoriasis: This variation o

October 31, 2016

  Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that is caused by the immune system attacking healthy cells and tissues. The immune system produces excessive amounts of antibodies compared to a normal person, and these antibodies can attach themselves to various bodily structures, causing inflammation and pain as a result.   This disease is quite rare and affects women more than men. Women of childbearing age are also more commonly affected. Statistically, Lupus affects over 20, 000 Australians, and 90% of those affected are women aged 15–45.   For the full article go to Lupus

January 7, 2016

Corticosteroids are powerful anti-inflammatory drugs that help to suppress the immune system. These drugs are effective in treating many ailments, particularly autoimmune diseases, and have been used effectively for many years. Corticosteroids (cortisol, corticosterone, cortisone, and aldosterone) are produced naturally in the body by the Cortex, which is the outer portion of the adrenal gland, and can be broken down into two categories:

  1. Glucocorticoids: These act to suppress the immune system and lessen inflammation, while also assisting in the breakdown of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins
  2. Mineralocorticoids: These regulate the balance of salt and water in the body

Synthetic corticosteroids mimic the actions of naturally occurring corticosteroids and are often used as a replacement in people with dysfunctional adrenal glands which are unable to produce adequate amounts of the chemicals. Systemic corticosteroids refer to corticosteroids given orally, or via injection, and distributed throughout the body. These do not include corticosteroids used in the eyes, ears, nose, on the skin, or that are inhaled. Examples of synthetic corticosteroids:

  • Betamethasone
  • Budesonide
  • Cortisone
  • Hydrocortisone