Do you know what’s on October 29 every year? It is World Psoriasis Day. One another fact about psoriasis is, about 3% of the world’s population ( 150 million peoples) are affected by this disease.
So, what actually psoriasis is? Be patience!!! We get you there because this post is solely dedicated to psoriasis. We also discuss its symptoms, types, diagnosis, and treatment.
So, let’s began with its introduction.
What is Psoriasis?
It is a chronic autoimmune-inflammatory skin disease. In other words, this means a skin condition where skin cells are growing at an irregular rate.
When skin cells begin to grow abnormally, the top layer of the skin has red or purple pimple-like rashes with white scales.
And it is not bound to any age— from babies to seniors. It normally happens in your knees, elbows, and in the scalp area. But in fewer cases, rashes can also be seen in the hands, abdomen, and feet.
- Specialty: Dermatology
- Common Symptoms:
- Red or purple on darker skin
- Scaly patches of skin
- Complications: Psoriatic arthritis
- Duration: Long term
- Causes: Genetic disease triggered by environmental factors
- Diagnostic method: Based on symptoms
- Steroid creams
- Vitamin D3 cream
- Ultraviolet light
- Immune system suppressing medications such as methotrexate
- Frequency: 79.7 millions / 2–4%
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Types of Psoriasis
There are many reasons why skin cells behave abnormally which finally become one of the types of psoriasis and there are a total of five types.
It is also known as Psoriasis Vulgaris. This is the common type of psoriasis-disease that has red or pink patches on the skin. They usually resemble as silvery dead skin scales. And with time these scale loosens and sheds frequently.
In addition, areas that are commonly affected are the back of the forearms, elbows, knees, shins, navel area, and scalp.
Although from the infected area, if one can try to pull off one of these small dry white flakes. Then it leaves behind a tiny blood spot on the skin. By the way, this is one of the diagnostic signs of plaque psoriasis— the Auspitz sign.
They are small, drop-like red spots over the skin. This happens normally when the patient becomes ill from other skin diseases. A bacterial infection such as strep throat normally causes this.
This type of psoriasis usually occurs in the folds of the skin like underarms, navel, groin, and buttocks.
This causes a skin rash and smooth red patches, inflamed skin that gets worsens with friction and sweating. Fungal infections may trigger inverse psoriasis.
Small pus-filled yellowish blisters on palms and soles of the feet are common in pustular-psoriasis. These yellowish blisters usually have sore and itchy. In addition, it causes flu-type symptoms that involve fever, dizziness, loss of appetite, etc.
It really a very aggressive form of psoriasis which needs urgent care. This also makes it one of the uncommon and inflammatory forms of psoriasis which has sunburn-like rashes and patches.
The common symptoms include bright-red peeling rash across the entire skin surface. Although, it also causes a high heart rate, itching, and pain.
Symptoms of Psoriasis
In this skin disease, the growth rate is nearly 10 times faster than normal growth. Therefore, there are vast varieties of psoriasis’s symptoms but the most common symptoms are:
1. Swollen, red skin patches, rashes, and inflamed skin covered by slavery, loose scales.
2. Painful, itchy, and sometimes cause cracks and blood.
3. Color change in nails and toes region.
4. Scale and patches may form on the forehead.
5. In old ages, this disease can also cause swelling and joint pain.
However, from research, it was concluded that, in India, 10 to 30% with psoriasis are suffering from psoriatic arthritis.
What are the Causes of Psoriasis?
Even with the recent development of technologies, the exact cause of psoriasis is unknown. But researchers point out the major factors that can cause this skin disease.
Our immune system helps to protect us from infection by viruses and bacteria. But if something goes wrong, our system starts invading their own cell. Researchers too believe that the immune system is a reason for psoriasis growth.
In case of any inflammation within the body, the immune system actively reduces the threat. In the process, a large number of healthy cells are produced. These extra cells then start coming to the skin’s surface with a speedy rate.
These skin cells that appear on the skin, is psoriasis. It is red in color and causes inflammation.
When the cause is hormonal— it relatively falls during puberty or the menopause. This is also true for pregnancy. So, if you are pregnant, you are more likely to get this skin disease.
The majority of psoriasis cases are linked by genetics. From the data, there are about 15% chances of getting this disease if one parent had this disease. But, when both parents have, then chances increase to 60%.
Other Causes of Psoriasis
1. Substance Abuse (Alcohol): Those who drink alcohol regularly have a higher risk, especially among teenagers. It should also be noticed that alcohol also makes treatment less effective.
2. Stress: Stress and mental disorders can also play a major role in psoriasis.
3. Food: Eating uneven food too much can cause an imbalance.
4. Medication: Patients who are suffering from bipolar disorder are treated by lithium-based drugs that might impact the cognitive function of skin cells. In addition, high blood pressure medications (propranolol or quinidine), and antimalarial drugs can increase the chances of getting this disease.
5. HIV: Patients with HIV have a higher risk of psoriasis. But, as soon as the patient starts treating for HIV, the recovery would be faster.
6. Sunburns and Sunbath: A small sunbath is a good source of vitamin D. But sometimes, sunburn can make the situation worse. So, it is advisable to take proper care of your skin before going out in the sun.
Diagnosis for Psoriasis Disease
There are the various diagnostic tests for psoriasis which we have listed down.
It’s usually easy for a doctor to diagnose psoriasis, especially if patients have an infected area such as the scalp, ears, elbows, knees, and bellybutton. The physical examiner also collects the medical history of the patient and also their family.
The doctor might do a biopsy— a microscopic examination of tissue. By removing a small piece of skin and observing it. They also look for related signs of bacterial skin infection.
Treatment for Psoriasis
Surprisingly, there is no cure for psoriasis. But luckily, there are many treatments that can help to manage this skin disease. All these medications are just to relieve the inflammation and slow the process of skin cell growth.
Altogether, there are three types of psoriasis’s treatment:
- Steroid creams
- Moisturizers for dry skin
- Coal tar available in lotions, creams, foams, shampoos, and bath solutions
- Vitamin D in foods and pills
- Retinoid creams
- Creams and ointments (applied directly to the skin to reduce mild to moderate inflammation)
- Dithranol or Anthralin
- Salicylic acid is a keratolytic help to raise the amount of moisture in the skin
The point that is emphasizing here is to control psoriasis. But this medication has some side effects. This is why these medications are generally prescribed for a short period of time.
1. Methotrexate: This drug is formerly known as Amethopterin. It has several side effects, including liver damage, ulcerative stomatitis, and leukopenia.
2. Cyclosporine: This drug blocks the immune system response, which can reduce the symptoms. Major side effects are hypertension and kidney diseases.
3. Biologics: These drugs are given intravenously via injection.
4. Acitretin (Soriatane): It is an oral retinoid that is capable to reduce the cell production. But this drug increases the risk of birth defects, so they are merely prescribed to a pregnant lady.
This therapy requires ultraviolet (UV) light and sometimes natural light. It sounds unrealistic, but light therapy really works. The light destroys the overactive white blood cells (which cause rapid growth of the cells).
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Special Case: Psoriasis-Arthritis
When you co-joined arthritis with psoriasis, it is very painful. So, with the addition of both, the pain and suffering multiply by many times. The bones, tendons, and ligaments all are painful but psoriasis makes joints swell and weaken.
However, other symptoms like abnormal nail color change, redness that resembles the fungus infections, and pain in eyes.
While talking about its treatments, there are various medications that can make this condition less dis-comfortable.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs)
- Light therapy and other PsA medications
Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune skin disease in which the immune system starts attacking its own healthy skin cells. Altogether, this causes abnormal skin growth which usually seen as dry rashes of the top layer of the skin.
For instance, symptoms include red-skin patches, rashes, itchy, loose scales, and nail-toe color change, etc. While this makes it easy to diagnosis by physical examination and biopsy.
While talking about its treatment, there is no full-proof cure. But it can be controlled through topical treatment, systemic medications, and also with light therapy.
What are the symptoms of psoriasis?
Ans. Symptoms such as red-dense patches, inflammation, and itchy or flaking skin.
Is Psoriasis curable?
Ans. Sadly, itis not currently curable. However, there are many treatments that could manage psoriasis.
Is Psoriasis contagious and may be spread by direct contact?
Ans. The answer is Big NO. It cannot be spread from person to person and cannot pass it to anyone else by skin-to-skin contact.
Do pregnant women tend to see changes in their psoriasis?
Ans. Yes, pregnancy may change the intensity or severity of psoriasis.
What is the most common form of psoriasis?
Ans. The most common form is plaque psoriasis. Around 9 out of 10 people with psoriasis suffer from plaque psoriasis.