What is Psoriasis?
This is a chronic autoimmune condition that leads to a buildup of skin cells. This cell buildup contributes to scaling on the skin surface. In psoriasis, redness and inflammation around the scales are common and curable. These whitish-silver psoriatic scales develop red and thick patches that crack and bleed.
Psoriasis occurs when your skin cells grow inside your skin and rise to the surface steadily – these cells fall off eventually. The lifecycle of normal skin cells is one month. In people with psoriasis, the production of cells occurs rapidly and prevents skin cells from falling off at the right time.
This overproduction ultimately leads to accumulation of skin cells. The psoriasis scales develop on joints such as elbow or knee. However, many people develop psoriasis scales on the face, scalp, feet, neck, and hands as well. Psoriasis also affects nails and mouth, but in rare conditions.
Studies have revealed that 7.5 million people develop psoriasis. It is also associated with other health complications such as cardiovascular issues, type II diabetes, psoriatic arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Types of Psoriasis
1. Guttate Psoriasis
This type of psoriasis affects children. Guttate psoriasis causes pink small spots on the legs, torso, and arms. These spots are not often as thick or lifted as plaque psoriasis – another type of psoriasis.
2. Erythrodermic Psoriasis
Erythrodermic psoriasis is severe but a rare type of psoriasis. This condition affects a large part of your body and your skin looks sunburned. The scales that develop in erythrodermic psoriasis fall off in large sections. If not treated on time, this type of psoriasis can be fatal.
3. Plaque Psoriasis
It is common and forms inflamed and red patches on your skin. These patches are white and develop mostly on scalp, elbows, and knees.
4. Inverse Psoriasis
In inverse psoriasis, your skin develops red, inflamed, and shiny patches. These patches are formed under armpits and other hidden areas of your skin.
5. Pustular Psoriasis
Pustular psoriasis causes white, pus-filled blisters and develops red and inflamed patches on the skin. This condition is common in adults. Although these patches occur on the smaller areas of your body like hand and feet, pustular psoriasis affects other areas on the skin as well.
Symptoms of Psoriasis
The symptoms are based on the type of psoriasis. In some cases, it occurs on a small area on your scalp or elbow or sometimes, it covers a large area of your skin. You can identify it by the following symptoms.
- Red and inflamed patches on the skin
- White scales on the skin
- Plaques on red patches
- Dry skin (it cracks and bleeds)
- Thick, pitted nails
- Itching and burning around the patches
- Soreness around the patches
- Painful or swollen joints
It is worth mentioning that everyone does not develop these symptoms. People, who have less common type of it, develop different symptoms. It is true that many people experience different cycles of symptoms. This condition may lead to serious symptoms for days or even weeks then clear up gradually. If psoriasis triggers again, you may develop severe symptoms. In any case, consult with your doctor and do not overlook your condition.
Causes of Psoriasis
The exact causes of psoriasis are unknown. However, many studies have indicated that genetic factors and weak immune system contribute to it’s onset.
If your family has a history of it, you are more likely to develop this skin disorder. However, the percentage of these cases is small. You can impede the risks by visiting your skin specialist regularly.
According to health experts, psoriasis is an autoimmune condition. In this condition, your body attacks itself. Moreover, when white blood cells or T cells attack your skin cells, it leads to the onset of psoriasis. White blood cells fight invading bacteria and combat the factors that contribute to infections.
This way, skin cells production boosts and new cells develop rapidly and are pushed to stay on the surface of your skin. As a result, this cell production forms plaques which are associated with psoriasis and develop red, inflamed patches on the skin.
Treatment of Psoriasis
There are three kinds of treatments available to slow down the growth of skin cells, reduce inflammation, and remove plaques in psoriasis.
People with mild to severe cases or people who do not respond to other treatments are given oral or injected medicines. These medicines contain adverse effects so doctors prescribe the following medicines for a short time.
- Cyclosporine (Sandimmune)
Ointments and creams are prescribed to patients to reduce mild to moderate cases. This topical treatment includes the following medicines.
- Vitamin D analogs
- Topical corticosteroids
- Topical retinoids
- Salicylic acid
In light therapy, psoriasis is treated using ultraviolet (UV) or natural light. This therapy destroys overactive white blood cells and control cell growth. These lights are helpful in combating the symptoms of mild to moderate cases.
Doctors may opt for different treatments to treat severe cases. Some cases of this skin disorder respond well to one treatment whereas many cases require a combination of treatments to get rid of it.
Useful Tips for People with Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a debilitating condition and living with it can be challenging. However, with treatment and some extra care, you can overcome it. You should follow these useful tips until you recover or can follow it to prevent it’s onset in the first place.
To maintain a healthy skin and reduce the risks of skin disorders, consume a well-balanced diet. You should avoid saturated fats and increase the intake of lean proteins. Do not consume foods that trigger your condition, such as dairy products, processed foods, red meat, and refined sugar, especially after the diagnoses as they contribute to inflammation.
Build up of fat in your body lead to many problems including skin issues. Therefore, incorporate some exercise into your daily routine. If your family has a history of it, making lifestyle changes can help to some extent.
Maintain Emotional Health
It takes time to heal. Most patients find this time-consuming treatment frustrating when symptoms remain the same even after following the treatment. This condition affects their emotional health and they develop depression and self-esteem issues. You can maintain emotional health by consulting a therapist.
Due to risk of it’s reoccurrence, follow the treatment consistently to recover and improve the condition of your skin.