A Real Sore Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a highly visible, non contagious, long lasting skin disease affecting both men and women and appears on the skin in the form of red scales that can sometimes be very itchy.
The most common form, i.e. plaque psoriasis, appears as raised, red patches or lesions covered with a silvery white buildup of dead skin cells, called scale.
While the itchiness and pain can be unpleasant, some of the worst effects of psoriasis is emotional. Sufferers of psoriasis sometimes feel self-conscious, isolated and depressed.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a cure. But there are several effective treatments that can help keep the condition under control.
Signs And Symptoms of Psoriasis
There are several types of psoriasis and symptoms for each type may vary, ranging from mildly irritating to truly unbearable. In general, the major symptoms of psoriasis include:
- Bright red areas of raised patches on the skin. Called plaques, these are often covered with loose, silvery scales and most commonly occur on the knees, elbows, scalp, hands, feet or lower back.
- Bleeding patches. Small areas of bleeding when skin scales are picked or scraped off.
- Scaling. Mild scaling to thick, crusted plaques on the scalp.
- Itching. This can occur during sudden flare-ups or when the patches appear in the folds of the body, such as under the breasts or the buttocks.
- Nail disorders. This is common, especially in severe psoriasis. Nail symptoms include tiny pits in the nails, yellowish discoloration of the nails, separation of the end of the nail from the nail bed, and buildup of skin under the nails.
- Symmetrical plaques. Raised red patches appear on the same areas on both sides of the body (for example, either both knees or both elbows).
- Flare-ups of many raindrop-shaped patches. Called guttate psoriasis, this condition often follows a strep infection and is the second most common type of psoriasis. It affects less than 10% of those with psoriasis.
- Joint swelling, tenderness and pain. Known as psoriasis arthritis, these symptoms may occur in up to forty percent of people with psoriasis.
Types Of Psoriasis
Psoriasis is not contagious but can be inherited. There are different types of the condition but the majority of all cases are plaque psoriasis.
- Red and covered with silvery scales.
- Circular to oval shaped red plaques that sometimes itch or burn.
- Mostly found on elbows, knees, trunk or scalp.
- Affects children, teenagers and young adults.
- Often appear after a bacterial infection such as strep throat.
- Red, scaly, round spots on the skin.
- Usually over the abdomen, arms, legs and scalp.
- May go away without treatment in a few weeks.
- Pus-filled blisters on the skin.
- Usually on the hands and feet.
- Usually dries up, turns brown, becomes scaly and peels off.
- The least common type of psoriasis.
- Most of the body or a very large area of the body is bright red and inflamed.
- The peeling rash usually itches or burns.
- May be triggered by withdrawal from drugs such as corticosteroids (often taken for diseases such as asthma).
- Can evolve from other forms of psoriasis or triggered by psoriasis treatment.
- Dry and bright red patches appear in folds of skin.
- Under the breasts, in the armpits, or on the genitals.
- Can be made worse by obesity.
- Yellow-red nail discoloring that looks like a drop of blood under the nail plate. Small pit may form in the nails.
- The scalp may have fine dry scaly skin, or have heavily crusted plaque areas.
- The plaque can flake off or peel off in crusted clumps.
- A specific condition where a person has both psoriasis and arthritis.
- Has patches of raised red skin with scales or plaque.
- Also suffers from joint inflammation.
Causes Of Psoriasis
Experts are not sure what exactly causes psoriasis. Psoriasis of the skin and nails may look like a rash or fungus, but you can’t catch it from another person. You also can’t give it to anyone else or spread it from one part of your body to another by touch.
Statistics show that about one-third of people who have psoriasis have one or more family members with the condition. It is therefore likely that psoriasis is inherited. However, it is believed that genetic factors alone do not determine whether you develop psoriasis.
Although psoriasis usually appears as a skin condition, recent discoveries show that its real cause is a problem with the immune system. This is because increased numbers of white blood cells are present between the abnormal layers of skin and because psoriasis responds to drugs that suppress the immune system.
Psoriasis Treatment Options
Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis have no cure, but many different therapies can reduce, or nearly stop their symptoms. No single treatment works for everyone, but something is likely to work in most cases.
Normally applied directly to the skin, slow down or normalize excessive cell reproduction and reduce inflammation associated with psoriasis.
Involves exposing the skin to wavelengths of ultraviolet light under medical supervision. Present in natural sunlight, ultraviolet B (UVB) penetrates the skin and slows the abnormally rapid growth of skin cells associated with psoriasis. This form of treatment can be used by adults and children, and can be effective used aloe or in combination with other treatment options.
Psoriasis that is resistant to topical treatment and phototherapy is treated by medications that are taken internally by pill or injection. This is called systemic treatment. Patients undergoing systemic treatment are required to have regular blood and liver function tests because f the toxicity of the medication.
Balneothrapy, or water based treatments involving natural thermal springs, hot springs, mineral water or seawater, is widely used throughout Europe and Asia. Climatotherapy is a term used to describe the combination of natural sunlight and water, such as the ocean or other bodies of water to treat psoriasis.
Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent psoriasis but here are ways you can improve your symptoms or help reduce the number flare-ups:
- Keep your skin moist and lubricated.
- Avoid cold, dry climates.
- Avoid scratching and picking skin and skin injuries (cuts or scrapes).
- Avoid stress and anxiety.
- Avoid infections such as strep throat, especially in children.
- Try to avoid certain medication including beta blockers and lithium.
- Limit your alcohol intake.
- Don’t smoke.