Psoriasis

Psoriasis causes cells to build up on the surface on the skin and form scales and itchy red patches. It is a chronic autoimmune condition, which means it comes and goes. The cause isn’t fully understood, but psoriasis is thought to be triggered by T-cells fighting healthy cells rather than viruses or bacteria. This T-cell malfunction may be both genetic and environmental, and treatment is focused on halting the build up of cells through slowing their life cycle.

What are the types of psoriasis?

Plaque psoriasis causes raised, dry, red lesions that may be itchy or painful. These lesions can form anywhere, including inside your mouth, the top of your head, or on your genitals.

Nail psoriasis causes abnormal nail growth, ridged or pitted nails, nails that separate from the nail bed, crumbly nails, and discoloration.

Guttate psoriasis often affects young adults and children. It may be triggered by a bacterial infection such as strep throat, and it causes small, droplet-shaped lesions on your limbs, scalp and trunk.

Pustular psoriasis is characterized by pus-filled blisters that develop on your hands, feet and fingertips, sometimes accompanied by itching, fever, chills, and upset stomach.

Inverse psoriasis may be triggered by fungal infections. Smooth patches of red, irritated skin are usually found in the armpits, genitals, or under your breasts.

Erythrodermic psoriasis may cover your entire body in a red, itchy or peeling rash.

Psoriatic arthritis is when swollen, painful joints accompany another form of psoriasis. It can cause progressive joint damage.

What are the symptoms?

Red patches of skin with silvery dried scales; dry, cracked skin that may bleed; itching, burning, painful, sore skin; thickened, pitted or ridged nails; swollen and stiff joints.

What is the treatment?

Topical corticosteroids and Vitamin D creams (called Vitamin D analogues) are often prescribed. Other topical medicines, including Salicylic acid treatment, may help remove the scales and keep the skin clearer. An effective moisturizer is also an important factor.

Can it be prevented?

Psoriasis cannot be prevented but sometimes known triggers can be avoided, such as smoking, stress, alcohol consumption, Vitamin D deficiency, and dry skin. Certain medications such as lithium, malaria blockers, and beta blockers may also be triggers.


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