Last Updated on March 25, 2023 by Nurse Vicky
What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a common, chronic skin condition that causes the skin to become inflamed and produce red, scaly patches. It is often itchy and uncomfortable and can have a significant impact on quality of life. Symptoms may range from mild to severe, and while there is no cure, there are treatments available to help manage it.
What Causes Psoriasis?
The exact cause of psoriasis is unknown, but it is believed to be due to an overactive immune system. Genetics may also be a factor, as certain genetic mutations can increase the risk of developing psoriasis. Stress, certain medications, and environmental factors can also trigger flare-ups.
Psoriasis is a skin condition that affects more than 8 million people in the United States alone. It is a chronic condition that can cause a lot of physical, mental, and emotional distress. It is important to understand what causes psoriasis in order to better manage the condition.
Types of Psoriasis
There are several types of psoriasis that are classified according to the severity of the condition and the area of the body that is affected. The most common types of psoriasis are plaque psoriasis, guttate psoriasis, inverse psoriasis, erythrodermic psoriasis, and pustular psoriasis.
What Causes Plaque Psoriasis?
Plaque psoriasis is the most common type of psoriasis and is characterized by thick, red, scaly patches on the skin. It can occur anywhere on the body but is more common on the elbows, knees, scalp, and lower back. Plaque psoriasis is caused by an overactive immune system that causes the skin cells to grow too quickly.
What Causes Guttate Psoriasis?
Guttate psoriasis is characterized by small, red, scaly patches on the skin. It is most common in children and young adults and is often triggered by a bacterial infection such as strep throat. Guttate psoriasis is caused by an overactive immune system that causes the skin cells to grow too quickly.
What Causes Inverse Psoriasis?
Inverse psoriasis is characterized by red, smooth patches on the skin that can be very itchy and painful. It is more common in areas of skin that are covered by clothing, such as the groin, armpits, and under the breasts. Inverse psoriasis is caused by an overactive immune system that attacks healthy skin cells.
What Causes Erythrodermic Psoriasis?
Erythrodermic psoriasis is a very serious form of psoriasis that affects large areas of the body. It is characterized by red, scaly patches on the skin that can be very itchy and painful. Erythrodermic psoriasis is caused by an overactive immune system that causes the skin cells to grow too quickly.
What Causes Pustular Psoriasis?
Pustular psoriasis is characterized by white, pus-filled blisters on the skin. It is most common on the hands and feet and is often very itchy and painful. Pustular psoriasis is caused by an overactive immune system that causes the skin cells to grow too quickly.
What Are the Risk Factors for Psoriasis?
There are several risk factors for psoriasis that can increase the likelihood of developing the condition. These include genetic factors, environmental factors, and certain medical conditions.
What Are the Genetic Factors for Psoriasis?
Genetic factors are one of the main risk factors for psoriasis. If someone in your family has psoriasis, you are more likely to develop the condition.
What Are the Environmental Factors for Psoriasis?
Environmental factors can also increase the risk of psoriasis. These factors include stress, smoking, and certain medications.
What Are the Medical Conditions That Increase the Risk of Psoriasis?
Certain medical conditions can increase the risk of psoriasis. These include HIV/AIDS, inflammatory bowel disease, and certain types of arthritis.
How Is Psoriasis Diagnosed?
Psoriasis is usually diagnosed by a physical exam and a review of the patient’s medical history. The doctor may also order tests such as blood tests and skin biopsies to rule out other conditions.
What Are the Symptoms of Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune skin condition that causes cells to build up rapidly on the surface of the skin, leading to the formation of scales and red patches that can be itchy and sometimes painful. The severity of the symptoms can vary greatly from person to person. Here are some common symptoms associated with psoriasis:
- Red, inflamed patches of skin: These patches, called plaques, are the most characteristic symptom of psoriasis. They can vary in size and shape and are often covered with silvery-white scales.
- Silvery-white scales: These scales are formed due to the rapid accumulation of skin cells on the surface of the skin. They can be thick and crusty, and they may flake off easily when scratched or rubbed.
- Dry, cracked skin: Psoriasis can cause the skin to become extremely dry and prone to cracking, which can be painful and lead to bleeding.
- Itching and burning sensations: The affected skin can be very itchy and sometimes cause a burning sensation, especially during flare-ups.
- Soreness or pain: The inflamed skin can be tender to the touch, and the pain can range from mild to severe.
- Thickened, pitted, or ridged nails: Psoriasis can affect the nails, causing them to become thickened, discolored, or develop small pits or ridges.
- Swollen and stiff joints: In some cases, psoriasis can be associated with a form of arthritis called psoriatic arthritis, which causes inflammation, swelling, and stiffness in the joints.
Remember that not all individuals with psoriasis will experience all of these symptoms, and the severity and duration of symptoms can vary. If you suspect you have psoriasis or are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
What Are the Treatments for Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition characterized by the rapid growth of skin cells, resulting in red, scaly patches on the skin.
There is no cure for psoriasis, but there are various treatments available to help manage the symptoms and improve the appearance of affected skin.
Treatment options can be categorized as topical treatments, light therapy, systemic medications, and biological medications.
- Topical treatments: These are creams, ointments, and gels applied directly to the skin. Common topical treatments for psoriasis include:
Corticosteroids: These reduce inflammation and slow skin cell growth. They are available in different strengths and can be used for mild to moderate psoriasis. b. Vitamin
- analogs: These help normalizes skin cell growth, such as calcipotriene and calcitriol. c.
- Retinoids: Tazarotene is a topical retinoid that can help reduce inflammation and skin cell growth.
- Coal tar: This is a traditional treatment that can help reduce inflammation and slow skin cell growth.
- Salicylic acid: This is a keratolytic agent that helps remove scales and soften the skin.
- Moisturizers and emollients: These help soothes the skin and reduces dryness and itching.
- Light therapy (phototherapy): This treatment involves exposing the skin to controlled amounts of natural or artificial ultraviolet (UV) light. There are different types of phototherapy, including:
- UVB phototherapy: Narrowband or broadband UVB light is used to treat psoriasis. b. Psoralen plus UVA (PUVA): This combines UVA light exposure with a photosensitizing medication called psoralen.
- Excimer laser: This laser treatment uses a focused beam of UVB light on specific areas of the skin.
- These are oral or injectable medications that work throughout the body. They are usually prescribed for moderate to severe psoriasis or when topical treatments and light therapy are not effective.
- Common systemic medications include:
Methotrexate: An anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive medication that helps reduce psoriasis symptoms.
- Cyclosporine: An immunosuppressive medication that can help control severe psoriasis.
- Acitretin: An oral retinoid that can help slow down skin cell growth.
- Biologic medications: These are protein-based drugs derived from living cells that target specific parts of the immune system involved in psoriasis. Biologics are usually prescribed for moderate to severe psoriasis that does not respond to other treatments. Some common biologic medications include:
It is essential to consult with a dermatologist or healthcare professional to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for your specific situation, as the choice of treatment depends on the severity and location of psoriasis, as well as individual factors and potential side effects.
Types of Psoriasis
There are several types of psoriasis, including plaque psoriasis, guttate psoriasis, inverse psoriasis, pustular psoriasis, and erythrodermic psoriasis. The most common type is plaque psoriasis, which is characterized by thick, red patches of skin covered in white scales.
Symptoms of Psoriasis
The most common symptom of psoriasis is itchy, scaly patches of skin. Other symptoms may include redness, swelling, burning or stinging, dry skin, cracking or bleeding and thickened, pitted, or ridged nails.
A doctor or dermatologist can diagnose psoriasis by examining the skin and asking questions about medical history and symptoms. A skin biopsy may be performed to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatments for Psoriasis
Treatment for psoriasis may include topical medications, such as corticosteroids and vitamin D analogs, as well as light therapy, oral medications, and biological drugs. It is important to work with a doctor to find the best treatment option for an individual’s needs.
Topical treatments are creams or ointments applied directly to the skin. Corticosteroids are the most common type of topical treatment, as they can help reduce inflammation and suppress the body’s immune system. Vitamin D analogs, such as calcipotriene and calcitriol, can help slow down the growth of skin cells.
Light therapy, also known as phototherapy, uses ultraviolet light to help reduce the symptoms of psoriasis. It can be done in a doctor’s office or at home with special equipment.
Oral medications, such as methotrexate and cyclosporine, can be used to reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system. These medications can have serious side effects, so it is important to discuss them with a doctor before starting treatment.
Biologic drugs, such as adalimumab, etanercept, and ustekinumab, are powerful medications used to treat moderate to severe psoriasis. They work by blocking certain proteins involved in the body’s immune response.
In addition to medical treatment, lifestyle changes can also be beneficial in managing psoriasis. These may include avoiding triggers, such as stress and certain foods, as well as avoiding excessive sun exposure and smoking. Keeping the skin well-moisturized can also help reduce flare-ups.
Psoriasis is a common, chronic skin condition that can have a significant impact on quality of life. While there is no cure, there are treatments available to help manage it.
It is important to work with a doctor to find the best treatment option for an individual’s needs, as well as psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that can cause a lot of physical, mental, and emotional distress.
It is important to understand what causes psoriasis in order to better manage the condition. There are several risk factors for psoriasis that can increase the likelihood of developing the condition.
Psoriasis is usually diagnosed by a physical exam and a review of the patient’s medical history. The most common treatments for psoriasis include topical medications, light therapy, oral medications, and biological drugs.