Psoriasis is a skin condition in which a compromised immune system causes the rapid growth of cells. This accelerated growth causes red patches with silver scales to form on the skin.
What are the Symptoms?
Psoriasis can afflict individuals of all ages with a variety of symptoms and varying degrees of severity. There are several signs which point to psoriasis. These symptoms include red patches on the skin covered with silver scales, discomfort including itching and burning, ridged nails, and swollen joints. There are several skin conditions which mimic psoriasis such as lichen planus, seborrheic dermatitis, and body ringworm. If the physician is not able to conclusively diagnose psoriasis, they may do a skin biopsy to rule out other skin conditions.
Risk Factors and Causes of this Condition
The actual cause of this skin condition is a malfunctioning immune system highlighted by over-active T-cells. This malfunction in the immune system could be the result of genetics, but it may be triggered by an infection or other illness, smoking, or alcohol abuse. Obesity, stress, and cold weather may also encourage psoriasis.
Types of Psoriasis
There are several types of psoriasis. The most common by far is plaque psoriasis. Plaque psoriasis is characterized by the typical red raised patches with silver scales. These patches can be found anywhere on the body.
Nail psoriasis is found on the finger and toenails. It can be detected by the separation of the nail from the nail bed and in severe cases a crumbling of the nail.
Scalp psoriasis consists of itchy patches on the scalp. This type of psoriasis is made notably worse by scratching and picking off the scabs.
Guttate psoriasis is found mostly in children and young adults. The red patches are usually smaller and are often brought on by an illness.
Pustular psoriasis is uncommon and is found on the feet, hands, toes, and fingers and shows up as pus-filled blisters.
Inverse psoriasis is caused by a fungal function and is usually found in the armpits, under the knees, and groin area. This type of psoriasis is made worse by friction.
Erythrodermic psoriasis is the least common type of psoriasis. It is often associated with arthritis.
A healthy lifestyle including an anti-inflammatory diet and stress reducing exercise can contribute to lessening the symptoms of psoriasis. There are also prescription medications that help alleviate the symptoms. If you have signs indicating psoriasis, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist.