Understanding Psoriasis -- the Basics
Dr. Asmita Dhekne Chebbi
Btm 1st stage, Bengaluru Feb 9, 2017
Psoriasis is a very common, chronic, noncontagious skin condition that speeds up the life cycle of skin cells. It often comes and goes. There is no cure for Psoriasis, but symptoms can be managed, such as moisturizing, quitting smoking and managing stress may help. It produces plaques of thickened, scaling skin.
The multiplication of skin cells is triggered by inflammatory chemicals produced by specialized white blood cells called lymphocytes. It commonly affects the skin of elbows, knees, and scalp. It affects all races and both sexes. Recently, it has been cleared that people with psoriasis are more likely to have diabetes, high blood lipids, cardiovascular disease, and other inflammatory diseases.
A person may go through red patches of skin covered with silvery scales, small scaling spots (commonly seen in children), itching, burning or soreness, Itchy plaques, thickened, pitted or ridged nails and swollen and stiff joints.
Types of Psoriasis
Plaque Psoriasis: It causes dry, raised, red skin plaques covered with silvery scales. They can occur anywhere on your body, including your genitals and the soft tissue inside your mouth.
Nail Psoriasis: It can affect fingernails and toenails, causing pitting, abnormal nail growth and discoloration. Nails might loosen and separate from the nail bed (onycholysis).
Guttate Psoriasis: It affects young adults and children. It can be identified by small, water-drop-shaped, scaling lesions on your trunk, arms, legs and scalp.
Inverse Psoriasis: It affects the skin in the armpits, in the groin, under the breasts and around the genitals. It causes smooth patches of red, inflamed skin that worsen with friction and sweating.
Pustular Psoriasis: It can occur in widespread patches or in smaller areas on your hands, feet on fingertips. It develops quickly, with pus-blisters appearing just hours after your skin becomes red and tender.
Erythrodermic Psoriasis: It can cover the entire body with a red, peeling rash that can itch or burn intensely.
Psoriatic Arthritis: It can cause swollen, painful joints that are typical of arthritis. It can cause stiffness and progressive joint damage that in the most serious cases may lead to permanent deformity.
Factors that may trigger psoriasis include, infections, such as strep throat or skin infections, injury to the skin, stress, smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, vitamin D deficiency.
Psoriasis Treatment Options
Doctors choose treatments based on the type and severity of psoriasis and the areas of skin affected. For a mild disease that involves only small areas of the body, topical treatments (skin-applied), such as creams, lotions, and sprays, may be very effective and safe to use.
For moderate to severe disease that involves much larger areas of the body, it may require ultraviolet light treatments or systemic medicines.
Most patients with psoriasis seem to be overweight. Diet whose fat content is composed of polyunsaturated oils like olive oil and fish oil is beneficial for psoriasis.