Psoriasis – Types, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis can be described as a skin condition which generally speeds up the cycle of skin cells. When someone is suffering from psoriasis cells in his skin build up in a very rapid way on the surface of the skin. It’s generally a chronic disease and comes to appear and disappear several times. In most cases psoriasis cause scales which are whitish-silver which develop into thick red patches which then eventually crack and bleed. The disease is in most cases seen on joints such as knees and elbows but in general, it can develop anywhere including feet, neck, hands, face and even scalp. Psoriasis is highly linked with other more serious conditions such as heart disease, arthritis, type 2 diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Types of Psoriasis
There are five different types of psoriasis which include:
- Guttate Psoriasis – This type of psoriasis is common among children and causes small pink spots. Body parts mainly affected by the guttate include arms, legs, and torso.
- Plaque Psoriasis – This is the most common type of psoriasis and it’s estimated that 80% of all the people suffering from the condition suffer from the plaque type. The plaque psoriasis causes red inflamed patched which cover most areas of the skin. It’s main witnesses in knees, scalp, and elbows.
- Pustular Psoriasis – this type of psoriasis is mainly found in adults and can be identified since its causes white blisters filled with pus. It’s localized in body areas such as the feet.
- Erythrodermic Psoriasis – This is a rare type but when it occurs it covered the entire body at once. It’s very serious since it comes with fever and can be very life-threatening.
- Inverse Psoriasis – Patches of this type of psoriasis mainly occur under the breasts or armpits and even around the genitals.
Symptoms of psoriasis as not constant but differ from person to person. The symptoms also depend on the type of psoriasis one is suffering from. The most common symptoms include:
- A dry skin that cracks and starts bleeding
- Inflamed patches on the skin which are red in color
- Whitish-silver scales
- A burning sensation around the patches
- Painful swollen joints
- Soreness around the patches
It’s good to note that not all people experience these symptoms as some people will have totally different symptoms. In other cases, the symptoms may appear and then disappear and the disappearance does not mean that the disease is gone. However, psoriasis is not contagious and therefore the skin disease cannot be passed to another person.
The exact cause of psoriasis has never been identified and doctors are still researching about it. It’s however believed that it’s caused by two main factors which are:
- Immune system – This disease is an autoimmune one. Being an autoimmune means that it’s caused by the body attacking itself. The main cause is believed to be as a result of T cells which are part of the white blood cells attacking the skin cells.
- Genetics – Psoriasis can be passed from generation to generation and therefore there is a possibility of inheriting genes which are likely to develop into the disease.
There are two main examinations that can be used to diagnose psoriasis:
- Physical examination – Through simple physical exercise doctors can diagnose psoriasis since most of the symptoms are evident. During this examination, the patient is required to show the doctor all the areas of concern.
- Biopsy – Biopsy is applied when the symptoms are not clear and involves taking a sample of the skin. The sample taken is then taken to the lab and is given a closer attention using a microscope.
Triggers of Psoriasis
Psoriasis has different triggers and in most cases, the triggers depend on the immune system of the affected person. Here are some of the triggers:
- Alcohol – Heavy drinking can trigger the occurrence of psoriasis
- Stress – In most cases stress has been seen to trigger the flare up. It’s therefore advised to manage your stress
- Some medications – There are medications such as lithium and high blood pressure which are also seen to trigger.
- Other possible triggers are infection and injury.
The type of food and your general diet can help reduce the symptoms of psoriasis even though they cannot cure the disease. Here are some of your dietary recommendations:
Take heart-healthy diets – To reduce the symptoms you are required to stop taking saturated fats. It’s therefore good to take foods containing omega 3 fatty acids like shrimp and salmon. Other recommended intakes include flax seeds, soybeans, and even walnuts.
Avoid foods such as red meat, refined sugar, dairy products, and processed foods since they are triggers.
Take foods with a lot of vitamins so that you can generate enough nutrients.
Drink less alcohol or even stop drinking completely
The cure for psoriasis has not been found and therefore medication is done to reduce scales and inflammation. The treatment is categorized into three:
- Systematic medication – This is simply injected and oral medication and is done to people who haven’t responded well to the other types of medication. The medication includes retinoid, biologics, methotrexate, and Sandimmune.
- Topical treatments – In this treatment use of creams as well as ointments are recommended. Some of the treatments include topical retinoids, topical corticosteroids, moisturizer, anthralin, and salicylic acid.
- Light therapy – in this case, the use of natural light or even ultraviolet light is used. The light is used to kill the white blood cells which are overreacting.
Some of the most recommended medications for psoriasis include:
Retinoids which reduce the productions of skin cells.
Cyclosporine – this medication stops the response of the immune system and therefore controlling the white blood cells.
Biologics – This medication changes your immune system, therefore, reducing the chances of interaction between inflammatory pathways with your immune system.
Methotrexate – this medication is very useful in the suppression of the immune system. This medication is however known to have side effects like liver damage when used for a long time.
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