What is psoriasis and its symptoms?
Most people have plaque psoriasis, but there are other types: guttate, inverse, pustular, and erythrodermic, sometimes called exfoliative, psoriasis. The body sends erroneous signals to the skin, causing it to grow quicker than necessary. These new cells form in days, not weeks, and build up as the body does not shed them, causing areas of psoriasis to appear
There are several kinds of psoriasis:
Plaque psoriasis, or psoriasis vulgaris, is raised reddish patches on the skin. Often, they have a white-ish scale form. Knees and elbows are common places for it to occur. The patches can itch and vary in size. Sometimes nails become brittle. Guttate psoriasis involves small, red spots on the arms and legs, but can appear anywhere, and may clear up on its own. Sometimes it occurs after an illness. Pustular psoriasis is a type which causes pus-filled bumps on the foot or hand, palms or soles. If these bumps appear all over the body, get the person to a hospital as soon as possible. Inverse psoriasis, sometimes called flexural or intertriginous psoriasis, is smooth red patches of skin which appear raw, where skin touches skin such as the pelvic region or the armpits. Skin is sore to the touch. Erythrodermic psoriasis, sometimes called exfoliative psoriasis, makes skin look as if it’s burned. Most skin on the body turns bright red, and cannot maintain its normal temperature. Quick heartbeat, along with intense pain and itching can occur, and anyone affected should seek treatment right away.
What causes psoriasis?
Psoriasis is common. Roughly 7.5 million people in the USA have this condition, and 4/5ths have plaque psoriasis. It can occur ate any age, but most get it between 15 and 30 years old. It is also not unusual for it to start between 50 and 60 years of age. Caucasians get psoriasis more often. Most likely to get inverse and guttate psoriasis are young children and infants. Psoriasis is not contagious–you can’t get it from contact.
A person’s genetics and immune system play roles in the disease, and not everyone with the genes associated with the disease will get it. Sometimes it must be triggered, and many say theirs began after a stressful even, illness, taking certain medications, or just cold and dry weather, a skin injury, or even a bad sunburn.
How is psoriasis diagnosed and treated?
An examination of the skin, nails and scalp for signs of the disease will be conducted, and you will be asked if any family members have it. You will also be asked about recent illness or starting a new medication. A skin biopsy may be part of the procedure, to help confirm the diagnosis. Treatment can reduce the effects of the disease, and sometimes clear it completely. There are many treatment options, which fall under the following:
Topical for mild to moderate psoriasis, phototherapy for moderate to severe, or for very severe, injections or infusion of medication may be necessary. Psoriasis cannot be cured, and many have psoriasis for life. By teaming up with a dermatologist at Dermatology of Seattle, we can find a treatment plan just right for you. Taking an active role in caring for your health and condition can ease this chronic condition.