Psoriasis – Causes, symptoms, types and treatments

PSORIASIS

What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a persistent skin disorder—an auto-immune skin condition that causes cells to build up expeditiously on the skin. It causes red coloured patches on the skin with mild to intense itchiness. 

As this skin disorder is an auto-immune condition, it amplifies cell growth, resulting in the formation of thick scales or plaques on the skin. It causes intense itchiness, rashes and other discomforts.

The effects of this disease are so prominent in the scalp, knees, armpits, etc. It is a long-term disease with no possible cure. But with medical advances, treatments are there to suppress the effects and intensity of this disease. 

Psoriasis is a result of acceleration in the process of the skin cycle. Naturally, like plants, skin cells start their growth in deeper layers of the skin and slowly rise up to the surface. Eventually, they grow old and fall off. Meantime, new cells replace them.

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But sometimes this normal cycle of the cell gets accelerated. That is, there will be a swift production of cells that come up to the surface even before the death of old cells. 

This causes the accumulation of skin cells, thus, in turn, leading to the formation of plaques on the skin. 

What are the symptoms of psoriasis?

The psoriasis symptoms and the areas it affects vary greatly from person to person. On lighter and pale skin types, red or pink coloured patches with silver-white scales appear. 

However, in darker skin types, the patches are either purple or brown coloured with grey scales on them. 

The psoriasis symptoms also fluctuate from mild to severe between the periods of flares. You will experience intense symptoms for some weeks or months followed by a remission period that can last even up to years. 

However, it is impossible to predict the period of flares and their duration. 

Here are some common psoriasis symptoms:

  • Skin patches and plaques on the skin
  • Skin becomes dry and cracks open 
  • A sense of soreness around the skin patches
  • A sense of itchiness and burning around the patches
  • Pain and swelling in joints
  • Pitted and thick nails

Based on its intensity, psoriasis skin disease can be categorised as:

  • Mild psoriasis, in which the symptoms cover below 3% of your body surface.
  • Moderate psoriasis that covers between 3 and 10%.
  • Severe psoriasis that has coverage of more than 10% of your body surface.

What are the types of psoriasis?

Some common psoriasis types are listed below:

Plaque psoriasis

Plaque psoriasis is the common form of this skin condition. It usually causes red or purple patches on the skin. It causes the skin to thicken and form plaques that may be itchy.

It commonly occurs along the extensor surfaces such as elbows, knees, lower back and scalp. 

Inverse psoriasis

It is one of the common psoriasis types that develop symptoms along the folds of the skin. The lesions produced by inverse psoriasis are not like plaque psoriasis. Instead, they are smooth and shiny and present over the flexor areas. 

It commonly affects the armpits, groin, the areas below breasts. It is also common among people with obesity.

Guttate psoriasis

Guttate psoriasis is milder compared to plaque psoriasis. It commonly occurs in children and adolescents. The symptoms comprise individual skin spots that are not as thick as that of plaque psoriasis. 

Erythrodermic psoriasis

This type of psoriasis has less prevalence but causes severe symptoms. It causes massive inflammations that spread to large areas in your body. Along with that, people also experience severe shedding of skin coupled with severe itch and pain. 

This type of psoriasis is a serious health condition that may also pave the way for other conditions such as congestive heart failure and pneumonia. 

Some people experience swelling from fluid retention, commonly known as Edema. This psoriasis interferes with the body’s chemical balance. It also makes your body difficult to regulate its temperature, which often leads to shivering.  

If you experience any serious symptoms, you need to see a doctor immediately. 

Some other psoriasis types include:

Is psoriasis contagious?

Many of us have a question in our minds, ‘Is psoriasis skin disorder contagious?’

Well, against the common misconception, psoriasis is not a contagious disease, although its effects are clearly visible. You will not get infected through physical contact with persons affected by this skin condition. 

What causes psoriasis?

Although it is not conclusive on what would be the actual cause of psoriasis, with decades of studies in this field, scientists can corner two things that give rise to this skin disorder. They are:

  • Immune system
  • Genetics

Immune system

We all know that psoriasis is a skin disease that occurs as a result of your body’s auto-immune response. But what is an auto-immune condition?

Well, your body consists of white blood cells that give immunity to you by attacking the invading bacteria and other foreign bodies. White blood cells are generally called T cells. 

In people with psoriasis, these T cells mistakenly attack their skin cells. This triggers the skin cells to speed up the production process, thus resulting in the formation of plaques and other symptoms. 

What are the common triggers of psoriasis?

  • Cold and dry weather conditions
  • Skin infections
  • Stress
  • Excessive smoking and drinking

What are the risk factors of psoriasis?

People with certain conditions pose a high risk of contracting this disease. 

How to diagnose psoriasis?

Currently, there are no specific tests that can confirm psoriasis. Your doctor checks your skin condition and other symptoms that are developed on your skin such as rashes, redness, plaques, etc. 

It could be possible to identify the type

of psoriasis based on the nature of symptoms you develop. 

However, your doctor performs other tests like a biopsy to rule out other possible diseases such as Eczema. 

What are the treatment options for psoriasis?

As of now, there is no solid treatment that can completely cure psoriasis. Yet, certain treatment methods help you reduce and control the symptoms that you develop. 

Based on the severity of the disease, your doctor will prescribe treatments. Often the treatment includes medications and phototherapy. 

Apart from this, your doctor also prescribes ointment and other moisturizers to counter the dryness of your skin and ease the symptoms. 

What are the best home remedies for psoriasis?

It is not possible to prevent psoriasis, however, you can reduce the intensity of the symptoms by following certain practices. 

  • Practice yoga to reduce stress
  • Have a balanced diet
  • Control your alcohol consumption
  • Reduce or quit smoking

What are some lifestyle changes that help you in dealing with psoriasis?

You need to avoid or control the intake of certain food items to reduce the psoriasis symptoms:

  • Red meat
  • Refined sugar
  • Dairy products
  • Processed foods

By practicing the following diet practices, you can witness a considerable reduction in the severity of your symptoms:

  • Intake of lean protein sources like chicken breast
  • Intake of omega-3 fatty acids (commonly found in fish)
  • In case of gluten allergy, avoid consuming it
  • Avoid saturated foods and other simple carbs that are pro-inflammatory

An outlook

It is clear that, as of now, there are no ways to prevent psoriasis, nor any treatments that can cure it. However, there are ways that you can follow at home and opt for in hospitals that highly reduce the symptoms of psoriasis. 

Can psoriasis be cured permanently? 

No. There is no conclusive treatment that can completely cure psoriasis. However, with some treatments and home remedies, its symptoms can be suppressed.

Is psoriasis an autoimmune disease

Yes, it is. In people with psoriasis, their white blood cells mistakenly attack the body’s skin cells thus resulting in the speed-up of skin cells production. This leads to psoriasis.

 How can I get rid of psoriasis quickly?

There is no treatment available that can completely cure this disease.

How do you stop psoriasis from spreading? 

There are no ways to prevent its spreading. However, you can use certain OTC topical medications to ease its symptoms.

Does drinking water help psoriasis? 

Drinking more water moisturizes your skin and prevents it from getting too dry. This helps to some extent in suppressing the serious effects of psoriasis.

Does psoriasis worsen with age? 

The intensity of this disease does not depend on one’
s age. On average, psoriasis affects people aged between 15 and 35.

Is psoriasis fungal or bacterial? 

Psoriasis is neither a fungal nor a bacterial disease. It is rather an autoimmune disease that multiplies skin cells production. 

What will happen if psoriasis is not treated?

Although there are no solid treatment options available to cure psoriasis, certain treatments can help you ease out the symptoms. 
 
If you experience intense skin conditions, you need to opt for treatments that reduce their intensity. Not undergoing any treatment will only worsen your condition. 

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