What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a skin disease occurring in humans. It's a disorder that usually appears in early adulthood. It affects the skin, where the skin cells multiply at least ten times faster than usual. Skin regeneration should create a balance between the new cells and the dead cells, whereas, in this case, the skin multiplication is abnormal. Psoriasis affects a few parts of the human body, and in worst cases, can affect a major part of the body. The symptoms of psoriasis on the skin are found mainly on the elbows, knees, lower back, toes, palms and scalp.
General statistics say that two to three percent of the world suffers from psoriasis. It is not contagious but can be passed on through genes. The World Health Organization says that males and females are affected equally. People with white skin are affected disproportionately, but dark-skinned people are affected less comparatively.
What are the Significant Causes that Trigger Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a problem in the immune system that causes rapid degeneration of skin cells and a sequence of other skin infections that turn your skin dry and itchy. Sometimes it is an autoimmune condition where the body attacks itself. That is, the white blood corpuscles in our body start attacking our very own skin cells. Here are a few causes of psoriasis:
- Any surgery or cuts and scrapes.
- Emotional stress.
- Side effects of medicines taken for blood pressure, mainly the beta-blockers.
- Strep infections in the throat.
- Cold weather.
- The effect of certain medications like anti-malarial drugs, lithium etc.
- Immediate withdrawal of steroids.
- Smoking and drinking habits.
- Severe sunburn.
- Hormonal imbalance.
- Transfer through genes.
Types of Psoriasis
1. Plaque psoriasis
This is an effect on skin that causes red patches and silvery scales due to dryness. They might get very itchy at times.
2. Nail psoriasis
This type causes depression on fingernails, generally termed nail pitting. They tend to separate or loosen nails from the finger slowly. There can also be a change in nail colour and rapid nail growth at times.
3. Guttate psoriasis
This is quite common in children and young adults, majorly caused due to bacterial infections like strep throat. They appear in the shape of a drop in the trunk, hands and legs.
4. Inverse psoriasis
This type is caused mainly due to constant sweating and friction of the skin. The sweat in the body develops a fungal infection in that particular area. This psoriasis causes smooth patches red in colour and, if not treated, develop harsh rashes on the skin. The most affected areas are the buttocks, breasts and skin folds of the groin.
5. Pustular psoriasis
This is a rarer form of psoriasis, which has pus-filled pockets occurring in already present red patches. They appear in the palms and soles of feet.
6. Erythrodermic psoriasis
This is again a rare form of psoriasis. It is a red rash that develops all over your body which tends to itch and burn frequently.
7. Psoriatic arthritis
This particular psoriasis causes a disorder in the body that is similar to arthritis. It first affects the joints causing pain and swelling. The joints in the body tend to become stiff and difficult to move. If not treated at the right time, it might lead to permanent joint damage. One-third of people who have psoriasis are subjected to psoriatic arthritis.
Early Signs and Psoriasis Symptoms
Here are some symptoms of psoriasis that can be detected in its early stages. Approach a dermatologist at the earliest possible if you seem to have any of the below psoriasis symptoms:
- Inflammation on skin. Occurrence of red patches or red rashes on the skin.
- Dry skin piled up in the form of white and silver scales. There could be chances of even cracks followed by bleeding of the skin.
- Experience a burning sensation on the skin, along with itching and soreness.
- Have swelling and stiffness in joints.
- The appearance of plagues and scales in various parts of the body are one of the initial signs and symptoms of psoriasis.
- Thick pitted and discoloured nails.
- Dandruff and itching could also be one of the scalp psoriasis symptoms.
Adverse Effects of Psoriasis
People with psoriasis have a greater chance to be affected with:
- High blood pressure
- Psoriasis arthritis
- Type two diabetes
- Kidney disease
- Heart or Cardiovascular disease
- Autoimmune diseases like celiac disease and sclerosis.
- Inflammatory bowel disease or Crohn's disease
- Anxiety, stress and depression.
How to deal with Psoriasis?
Psoriasis causes and symptoms cannot be completely treated but can be controlled to a certain extent through medication. A few factors that you can follow for better results are
- Eat sensibly Know your body and what triggers the itching sensation. Fruits, vegetables, and fish may help in inflammation, whereas it is better to avoid dairy products and fatty meat.
- Avoid anything that triggers inflammation Figure out what is the cause for your flare-ups. It could be anything like allergies, alcohol, stress, smoking, hormones or dry weather.
- Enrich your skin Use a good moisturizing lotion or cream to keep your skin moist throughout the day. Avoid soaps that are too hard on the skin. Scalp psoriasis causes heavy dandruff in the form of flakes and hair loss. You can try a shampoo advised by a physician if you find any symptoms of psoriasis on the scalp.
- Work with your Dermatologist One should consistently follow therapy and medication. Otherwise, there are chances of remission. Talk to your doctor about any adverse reactions or better results in treatments for the doctor to know what works best on your skin.
Treatment for Psoriasis
Psoriasis has no specific treatment to date. Treatments can only reduce inflammation and plaques. The different types of treatments are:
- Topical treatments This is for mild psoriasis. It is the direct application of creams and ointments on the skin to reduce plaque. A few examples of topical psoriasis treatments are anthralin, vitamin D analogues, salicylic acid and moisturizers.
- Systematic medications These are oral or injected medications for moderate or severe psoriasis: E.g. Biologics, retinoids, cyclosporine, methotrexate.
- Light therapy In this treatment, ultraviolet rays are shown on the affected areas of skin. It kills the white blood cells, which attack healthy skin.
Most of the treatments for psoriasis have side effects, which is why doctors prescribe them for a brief period. Dealing with psoriasis can be quite challenging. However, have a positive mindset and keep looking for the right approach to control the disorder. A healthy lifestyle along with a healthy diet can reduce inflammation. Also, build on your emotional health. Keep yourself away from stress. Don't get depressed when new spots appear on the skin. Find a remedy and solution to control them as nobody can help you better than yourself.
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