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Signs & Symptoms of Psoriasis - Learn About The Disease

Zacharia Gray
July 29, 2021

Overview

Psoriasis is a long-lasting, noncontagious autoimmune disease characterized by raised areas of abnormal skin.These areas are red, or purple on some people with darker skin,dry, itchy, and scaly.Psoriasis varies in severity from small, localized patches to complete body coverage. Injury to the skin can trigger psoriatic skin changes at that spot, which is known as the Koebner phenomenon. The five main types of psoriasis are plaque, guttate, inverse, pustular, and erythrodermicPlaque psoriasis, also known as psoriasis vulgaris, makes up about 90% of cases. It typically presents as red patches with white scales on top. Areas of the body most commonly affected are the back of the forearms, shins, navel area, and scalp

Causes

Doctors are unclear as to what causes psoriasis. However, thanks to decades of research, they have a general idea of two key factors: genetics and the immune system. Immune system Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition. Autoimmune conditions are the result of the body attacking itself. In the case of psoriasis, white blood cells known as T cells mistakenly attack the skin cells. In a typical body, white blood cells are deployed to attack and destroy invading bacteria and fight infections. This mistaken attack causes the skin cell production process to go into overdrive. The sped-up skin cell production causes new skin cells to develop too quickly. They are pushed to the skin’s surface, where they pile up. This results in the plaques that are most commonly associated with psoriasis.

Treatments

Treatments aim to reduce inflammation and scales, slow the growth of skin cells, and remove plaques. Psoriasis treatments fall into three categories: Topical treatments Creams and ointments applied directly to the skin can be helpful for reducing mild to moderate psoriasis. Topical psoriasis treatments include: topical corticosteroids topical retinoids anthralin vitamin D analogues salicylic acid moisturizer Systemic medications People with moderate to severe psoriasis, and those who haven’t responded well to other treatment types, may need to use oral or injected medications. Many of these medications have severe side effects. Doctors usually prescribe them for short periods of time. These medications include: methotrexate cyclosporine (Sandimmune) biologics retinoids Light therapy This psoriasis treatment uses ultraviolet (UV) or natural light. Sunlight kills the overactive white blood cells that are attacking healthy skin cells and causing the rapid cell growth. Both UVA and UVB light may be helpful in reducing symptoms of mild to moderate psoriasis. Most people with moderate to severe psoriasis will benefit from a combination of treatments.

Complications

People who have dry eyes may experience these complications:

  • Psoriatic arthritis, which causes pain, stiffness and swelling in and around the joints.
  • Eye conditions, such as conjunctivitis, blepharitis and uveitis.
  • Obesity.
  • Type 2 diabetes.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Cardiovascular disease.

Types of Psoriasis

  • Guttate Psoriasis. Guttate psoriasis affects roughly 8 percent of people living with psoriasis. …
  • Pustular Psoriasis. Pustular psoriasis affects about 3 percent of people living with psoriasis. …
  • Plaque Psoriasis. …
  • Inverse Psoriasis. …
  • Erythrodermic Psoriasis.

What happens if psoriasis is left untreated?

Left untreated, patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis could develop psoriatic arthritis (PsA), which affects up to 40% of patients. Similar to rheumatoid arthritis, PsA can cause pain, disability, and permanent joint deformities

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