Psoriasis: Symptom,Causes,Types & Treatment

Psoriasis is a typical inflammatory skin condition that causes red, flaky, crusty patches of skin coated with silvery scales.These patches normally appear on your elbows, knees, scalp and lower back, although can appear anywhere on your body. Most people are only affected with small patches. In some instances, the patches can be itchy or sore.

Psoriasis is a common inflammatory skin condition affecting 2% of the population. It can begin at any age, but most often manifests in adults under 35 years old. The condition affects men and women equally. Although psoriasis is a long-term situation there are many effective treatments possible to keep it under good control. Psoriasis can affect the nails and the joints as well as the skin. Nearly half of people with psoriasis have psoriasis affecting the nails.

For people with moderate to severe psoriasis, nearly one in three will develop psoriatic arthritis at some time. Psoriatic arthritis presents swelling and stiffness in the joints or stiffness in the lower back. Psoriasis can also be connected with an increased risk of harmful use of alcohol and with diabetes and obesity.

psoriasis-skin-on-body

Causes of Psoriasis

Scientists are unclear as to what generates psoriasis. However, research suggests- a general idea of two key factors: genetics and the immune system.

Genetics

Some people receive genes that address them more likely to develop psoriasis. If you have an immediate family member with the skin condition, your chance of developing psoriasis is higher. Though, the percentage of people who become psoriasis and a genetic predisposition is small. About 2 to 3 percent of people with the gene develop the condition.

Immune system

Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition.  In the case of psoriasis, white blood cells known as T cells attack the skin cells mistakenly.

In a normal body, white blood cells are deployed to attack and destroy invading bacteria and fight infections. The wrong attack causes the skin cell production process to go into overdrive. The sped-up skin cell reproduction produces new skin cells to develop too fast.

This results in the plaques that are most generally associated with psoriasis. The attacks on the skin cells further cause red, inflamed areas of skin to develop.

Some medications such as beta blockers ( treat high blood pressure and angina), lithium and tablets used to treat malaria, can more cause psoriasis to flare. The relationship between diet and psoriasis has not signified fully settled, but obesity is related with psoriasis and exercise and losing weight can be beneficial.

Types of Psoriasis

There are several types of psoriasis. These include:

  • Plaque psoriasis-The most common form, plaque psoriasis produces dry, raised, red skin lesions (plaques) coated with silvery scales.
  • Guttate psoriasis-This type fundamentally affects young adults and children. It's habitually triggered by a bacterial infection such as strep throat. It's marked by small, water-drop-shaped, scaling lesions on your trunk, legs, arms, and scalp.
  • Nail psoriasis- Psoriasis can attack fingernails and toenails, causing pitting, abnormal nail growth, and discoloration.
  • Pustular psoriasis- This rare form of psoriasis can occur in widespread patches or in smaller areas on your hands, fingertips or feet.
  • Inverse psoriasis- This principally affects the skin in the armpits, in the groin, under the breasts, and around the genitals. Inverse psoriasis induces smooth patches of red, inflamed skin that worsen with irritation and sweating. Fungal infections may trigger this type of psoriasis.
  • Psoriatic arthritis-In addition to inflamed, scaly skin, psoriatic arthritis induces swollen, painful joints that are typical of arthritis.
  • Erythrodermic psoriasis- The least common type of psoriasis, erythrodermic psoriasis can wrap your whole body with a red, peeling rash which can itch or burn deeply.

Psoriasis images

Symptoms of Psoriasis

Psoriasis symptoms vary from person to person and depend on the type of psoriasis.

The most common symptoms of  psoriasis include:

  • Red, raised, inflamed patches of skin
  • Dry skin that may crack and bleed
  • Silver-white scales or plaques on the red patches
  • Soreness around patches
  • Thick pitted nails
  • Itching and burning sensations around patches
  • Painful, swollen joints

Not all person will experience all of those symptoms. Some people will experience different symptoms if they have a less general type of psoriasis.

Maximum people with psoriasis go within “cycles” of symptoms. The condition may produce severe symptoms for a few days or weeks, and then the signs may clear up and be almost unnoticeable. Then, in a few weeks or if made serious by a common psoriasis trigger, the condition may flare up again. Sometimes, manifestations of psoriasis disappear completely.

While you have no active symptoms of the condition, you may be in “remission.” That doesn’t indicate psoriasis won’t come after, but for now, you are symptom-free.

How Psoriasis is Diagnosed

Physicians can often diagnose psoriasis based on the condition of your skin.

In limited cases, a small sample of skin, asked a biopsy, will be sent to the laboratory for analysis under a microscope. This determines the specific type of psoriasis and rules out other skin diseases, such as seborrhoeic dermatitis,  lichen simplex, lichen planus, and pityriasis rosea.

You may be referred to a dermatologist if your physician is uncertain about your diagnosis, or if your condition is severe.

If your physician suspects you have psoriatic arthritis, which is sometimes a complication of psoriasis, you may be referred to a rheumatologist. You may blood tests to rule out other diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, and X-rays of the involved joints may be needed.

Treatment options for psoriasis

Psoriasis becomes no cure. Treatments intended to reduce inflammation and scales, decrease the growth of skin cells, and remove plaques. Psoriasis therapies fall into three categories: topical treatments, systemic medications, and light therapy.

Topical Treatments

Creams and ointments utilized directly to the skin can be effective for reducing mild to moderate psoriasis.

Topical psoriasis treatments combine:

  • Topical corticosteroids
  • Anthralin
  • Topical retinoids
  • Vitamin D analogues
  • Moisturizer
  • Salicylic acid

Systemic Medications

People with mild to severe psoriasis and those who have not responded well to other treatment prototypes may require using oral or injected medications. Many of these medications have sharp side effects, so physicians usually prescribe them for short periods of time.

The medications include:

  • Cyclosporine
  • Methotrexate
  • Biologics
  • Retinoids

Treatment of Psoriasis

Light therapy

This psoriasis remedy uses ultraviolet (UV) or natural light. Sunlight destroys the overactive white blood cells that are invading healthy skin cells and producing the rapid cell growth. Both UVA and UVB light may be helpful in diminishing symptoms of mild to moderate psoriasis.

Maximum people with moderate to severe psoriasis will help from a combination of treatments. This type of treatment uses more than one of the treatment types to decrease symptoms. Some people may use the same remedy their entire lives. Others may need to adjust treatments occasionally if their skin stops reacting to what they’re using.