Psoriasis is a disease with autoimmune etiology, affecting all age groups. There is no significant difference in the incidence of this disease between genders. Pathologically, it represents the accelerated process of skin peeling due to the shorter lifespan of the skin cells in regions affected by this condition. Patients should pay close attention to their weight management, joint and heart conditions as these are the most often psoriasis comorbidities that could significantly affect the quality of life.
The exact cause of this disease is still unknown, but laboratory findings usually show increased levels of specific autoantibodies which target skin cells and interrupt their normal functioning. Genetic predisposition is also important in the pathogenesis of this disease. Scientists are continually updating the database of genetic mutations, some of which have already been linked with increased risk. Some patients claim that the disease debuted after a strep throat, mechanical injuries, severe stress, intake of lithium or antimalarial medicines.
Several types of psoriasis have been defined: plaque, guttate, inverse, pustular and erythrodermic. The most frequent type includes the formation of psoriasis plaque. Affected areas are usually red due to inflammation, with the additional intense dryness of the skin surface. On the surface of the skin, the peeling is always present, and it is the primary criteria for differential diagnosis. This type appears on the scalp, elbow, knee, and sometimes on the lower back. The second type manifests as a psoriasis skin rash with small red bumps on the scalp or trunk and is present in less than 3% of patients. The most severe type is erythrodermic, which looks like a harsh sunburn and could be coupled with increased body temperature and nausea, which means that it requires immediate medical help. The good news is that in most cases, psoriasis rash remains localized.
Clinical presentation of psoriasis includes skin redness, often accompanied by the feeling of irritation or even pain. Signs of psoriasis are so-called psoriatic plaques on the affected regions of the skin, and the laboratory findings of auto-antibodies are not uncommon. This is a chronic condition so that it may last for years, intermittently or continuously.
Treatment regimens for patients vary, due to different types and clinical manifestations. Light therapy for psoriasis has given great results, and it is highly recommended. Lotions and creams used for topical treatment typically contain salicylic acid, which helps to remove dead skin cells from the skin surface. Corticosteroids and derivates of vitamin A (retinoids) have proven to be very potent, and their main goal is to inhibit the inflammatory process. In patients having mild psoriasis issues, a low potency corticosteroid cream may be enough to keep the patient without symptoms, at least temporarily.
Q: Could it be cured?
A: Unfortunately, psoriasis is a chronic disease, and it could not be cured entirely. But collaboration with a dermatologist might help you to get its symptoms under control and to avoid or lessen the consequences of the complications.
Q: Is it contagious?
A: No. A bacterial infection may trigger psoriasis, but it is not a contagious disease, and you cannot receive it from another person.
Q: Does plaque psoriasis itch?
A: Usually no. In fact, in 80% of patients suffering from it, the itch is not among reported symptoms, but in the rest one-fifth of the patients, mild itching can occur. Severe itching sensations are very rare.
Our skilled skin care professionals have a vast experience of successful work with psoriasis patients. If you’re dealing with this skin condition and seek the professional medical help, please contact us to schedule an appointment at one of our three convenient offices.
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