What is Psoriasis?On May 27, 2017 by cshnc
An overview of the causes and symptoms of psoriasis
Skin psoriasis, also called cutaneous psoriasis, or simply psoriasis, is a chronic, non-contagious, inflammatory skin disease that comes and goes. The most common form of psoriasis, called plaque psoriasis, causes dry, itchy, red, scaly patches of thick skin. The scales appear as silver in color. These scaly patches, or plaques, most often appear on the elbows, knees, knuckles, and back, but they can occur on skin anywhere on the body. The skin may crack and bleed, and at times, may be painful.
For most people, the condition is just bothersome and unsightly, and rarely negatively affect ones overall health. However, severe forms of psoriasis may affect the joints and causes joints to become swollen, tender, and painful. This is called psoriatic arthritis. Besides plaque psoriasis, other types of psoriasis are pustular psoriasis, erythrodermic psoriasis, guttate psoriasis, and inverse psoriasis.
The exact cause of psoriasis is unknown. However, data from recent research studies strongly suggests that psoriasis is a disorder of the immune system. Certain environmental factors such as weather changes, alcohol, smoking, infection or injury, and certain medications may trigger flare-ups of psoriasis. Psoriasis can be inherited. Individuals with a family history of psoriasis are more likely to get it too. Being overweight, stress, and a weakened immune system can also increase an individual’s chances of getting psoriasis.
A doctor can normally diagnose psoriasis simply by visual inspection. Occasionally, a skin biopsy is also needed to determine the exact type of psoriasis or to rule out other possible skin conditions or diseases.
Currently, there is no cure for psoriasis. However, proper treatments can keep the disease under control. The most common psoriasis treatment is with over-the-counter creams for treating psoriasis. If the condition is mild, psoriasis may not need the services of a doctor. But if over-the-counter creams dont improve the psoriasis or if the condition actually worsens, a doctors services may be helpful.
The doctor may be able to prescribe medicine that is more potent that over-the-counter cream, or develop a treatment plan that is combination of different medications to help manage the psoriasis. These treatments could include medications and vitamins taken internally and the use of retinoid or corticosteroid based creams that are applied topically directly to the skin. In addition, some people with psoriasis are helped by the use photo therapy.
Besides the self-help measure of over-he-counter creams, there are simple steps that could be taken that will help alleviate the symptom of the psoriasis, such as by keeping the skin clean and well moisturized, getting enough sunlight exposure on the skin to help with the healing of the lesions, and avoiding smoking and alcohol use.