Psoriasis is a chronic, recurrent skin disease that causes thick, red, dry, silvery plaques or patches on the skin. The lesions can occur anywhere on the body, but usually appear on the scalp, back, elbows, knees, and buttocks, and can also affect the nails and the joints. The lesions can be small and scattered or can form into large plaques. The exact cause is not known but it occurs equally in men and women and can appear at any age and to all races. Psoriasis is not an infectious disease and it cannot be transmitted from one person to another so you cannot get it from someone else.
How do you get psoriasis
The exact cause of psoriasis is not known but the disease is associated with an overgrowth of skin cells, and there is often a family history of psoriasis. Both inherited and environmental factors play a role in the development of the condition. Some people are more likely to develop psoriasis than others. It usually begins gradually, sometimes after a sunburn, use of skin medications, or when a steroid hormone medication is discontinued. Bleeding may occur with itching, scratching, or peeling of the scaly areas. Dry indoor climates in the winter season can worsen the symptoms.
The health of the person with the condition is usually not affected although some patients experience the complication of rheumatoid arthritis in the joints of the fingers, toes, and sometimes the spine. According to research, about half of the people with psoriasis have psoriasis affecting the nails. Stress, infections, alcohol, and smoking, sometimes seem to play a role in recurrences. Treatment is directed toward relief of the symptoms, to reduce the frequency, and length of the outbreak. Certain medications used to treat high blood pressure, angina, lithium and tablets for malaria treatment can cause flare-ups of psoriasis. Obesity is also linked to psoriasis. Scratching and Inflammation from overexposure to ultraviolet light can lead to the development of more lesions.
Most cases of the condition are chronic and recurrent and early attacks will respond well to treatment, only to reappear within weeks or months later.
Common signs of psoriasis
The common signs of psoriasis include burning skin, broken nails, chills, diarrhea, dry skin on elbows, knees scalp, around the ears navel and genitals, fever, itching, joint pain, and stiffness. Psoriasis may not have any associated symptoms but it can be very dry, itchy and painful on the scalp, lower legs and groin. If the hands and feet are affected by painful cracks, it can affect the use of the hands, with walking, and bleeding can also occur. Psoriasis can affect the nails with the lifting of the nail plate from the nail bed which can be very painful. Areas of the body usually affected by psoriasis are the scalp, face, hands, feet, nails, elbows, knees, lower back, genitals and skin folds.
According to reports, about fifty percent of people with psoriasis experience changes to their fingers and toenails such as pitting (the appearance of holes in the nail), thickening, and discoloration. The skin changes of psoriasis, known as plaques, are pink or red areas with silvery-white scales. People with a moderate or severe case of psoriasis may have several plaques that cover a large area of the body.
A diagnosis of psoriasis
There are no special laboratory tests for psoriasis. The diagnosis is made by a dermatologist, who will examine the lesions visually. Psoriasis can resemble other types of skin conditions in some cases, like eczema, so doctors may want to do a biopsy, which is removing some of the skin and checking the sample with a microscope. Psoriasis tends to appear thicker than eczema. A skin biopsy may help to rule out other disorders, before confirming the results of psoriasis.
Doctors may also take a record of your family medical history. Research states, that one-third of people with psoriasis have a first-degree relative who also has the condition. Doctors may want to know if you have been under stress or taking any new medication to pinpoint the condition as these can cause flare-ups. Studies also show a link between heavy drinking and psoriasis. It seems that men who drink heavily are more likely to suffer from psoriasis. Alcohol may interact with certain psoriasis medication. Ask your doctor if it is safe to consume alcohol if you have psoriasis. Just to be safe and to be in the know.
How do you treat psoriasis
Treatments for psoriasis are geared to reduce inflammation and improve skin condition. Treatments are based on the type and severity of psoriasis and the areas of skin affected. The first choice of treatment for mild to moderate psoriasis is topical medication such as ointments, gels, creams, shampoos, and lotions. Topical treatments are applied directly to the skin to reduce inflammation and slow down skin cell growth. Topical treatments are often combined with other treatments if symptoms are more severe. Some topical treatments are available over-the-counter such as products with salicylic acid and coal tar as active ingredients, while others are available by prescription. There are also special shampoos that can help to clear psoriasis which contains coal tar and salicylic acid.
Phototherapy (light therapy) This is the use of natural or artificial light to slow down skin cell turnover and reduce inflammation, and it is often combined with other treatments. This treatment will have to be done in a doctor’s office, psoriasis clinic, or with a specialized phototherapy unit. This usually requires several visits. The number of sessions needed will depend on the extent of your psoriasis and the type of treatment used. You can also get phototherapy from a brief, daily exposure to natural sunlight.
If you have severe psoriasis or one that is resistant to these treatments, you may be prescribed oral or injected drugs to treat the whole body, such as Retinoids and others.
Is there a cure for psoriasis?
There is currently no cure for psoriasis. Most people with the condition will always have it, but it is possible to treat the condition with the right medications and therapies to reduce the symptoms and clear up the skin. According to reports, researchers are working hard to try to uncover the causes of the lesions and how to prevent flare-ups caused by the immune system.
The skin condition can create many challenges for people with psoriasis. The pain and itching can interfere with their ability to work or even sleep. People with psoriasis feel unattractive, suffer from low self-esteem, and can become withdrawn from friends and family. They can become depressed and have suicidal thoughts because of their condition. Talk to your doctor if you are feeling this way. Don’t do it alone.
Take care of your skin: There are many ways to manage this condition. Good skin care is a very important daily step to help control your psoriasis. Bathe daily and use a moisturizer. Avoid smoking, alcohol and eating unhealthy foods. Eating healthy foods may help you feel better and help improve your skin condition.
A flare-up of psoriasis can be triggered by a number of factors, such as stress, anxiety, injury to the skin, hormonal changes or certain infections or medications. Although there is no cure for psoriasis, there are treatments that can help make it easier to live with. If you are finding it difficult to cope with your condition, talk to your doctor to get information and advice to help you with you. I do hope, how do you get psoriasis will point you in the right direction to get early treatment to prevent further damage to your skin.
Delores Powell: My passion is all about Health and Wellness, Wealth and to help others succeed as well. Believe in your self. You will succeed.