Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune skin disease that causes red, itchy scaly patches, most commonly on the knees, elbows, trunk and scalp. Psoriasis is an immune system problem that causes the skin to regenerate at faster than normal rates.
Psoriasis is a disease that runs in families. If a parent, grandparent, brother, or sister has psoriasis, there is a greater possibility of the person getting it.
Swelling and redness around the scales are fairly common. Typical psoriatic scales are whitish-silver and develop in thick, red patches. Sometimes these patches might crack and bleed.
Scales typically develop on joints, such as elbows and knees. They may develop anywhere on the body, including the:
Patches of thick raised skin covered with silvery scales
Thin or thick patches that could cause hair loss
Yellow-brown spots on the nails, pitted nails, crumbling nails, and nails separating from fingers or toes
Common in children who have had an infection like strep throat. Could cause many small, scaly spots
Common in armpit and groin area. Shiny, smooth patches instead of scaly ones
Painful pus-filled blisters and thick, scaly skin that can crack easily (on hands and feet)
Begin with dry, red, and tender skin. Within hours, widespread pus-filled blisters can appear
Large areas of skin can look as if burnt (the serious type which needs immediate medical attention)
No one knows the exact cause of psoriasis, but experts say that it’s a combination of many factors. If something is wrong with the immune system, it causes swelling, triggering new skin cells to form quickly.
Skin cells are normally replaced every 10 to 30 days; however, in psoriasis, they grow every 3 to 4 days.
The accumulation of old cells being replaced by new ones creates those silver scales.
What are the signs and symptoms of psoriasis?
Dry, thick, and raised patches on the skin, often covered with a silvery-white coating called scale, that usually itches a lot. While thickened, dry skin patches are common; psoriasis can cause many other signs and symptoms.
What one sees and feels may tend to vary with:
Many routine and common things can act as triggers, resulting in psoriasis appearing for the first time.
What are the common triggers?
Triggers can also cause psoriasis flare-ups. Triggers are different for different people. For instance, extreme stress may trigger psoriasis for someone, whereas cold weather can be a triggering factor for another.
Hence, it’s crucial for people with psoriasis to know what triggers their condition. If one can avoid these triggers, flare-ups can be automatically reduced.
If one suspects psoriasis, it’s important to seek medical help or consult a skin specialist. Treatment can help relieve the discomfort and give a clearer skin.
Untreated psoriasis can cause plaques to continue to build and spread, causing many physical and emotional complications.
How does a doctor diagnose psoriasis?
A doctor can often diagnose psoriasis based on how the skin appears. They may be able to confirm whether a person has psoriasis or not, using the following approaches:
A specialist in diagnosing and treating skin conditions is called a dermatologist. A dermatologist can examine the skin and help provide relief from the symptoms.
Should psoriasis be treated?
Treating psoriasis is good for both the body and mind. Treatment can:
A doctor is the best person to suggest the most suitable treatment for psoriasis, whether it’s a family doctor or a specialist like a dermatologist. Major therapies available for people with psoriasis include-