PSORIASIS: Symptoms, Types, Causes, Diagnosic And Treatment

PSORIASIS: Symptoms, Types, Causes, Diagnosic And Treatment

What Is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis skin disease is a rather common chronic autoimmune disease. It appears on the skin when immune systems send out faulty signals which cause the acceleration of skin cells growth cycle. This skin disease is not contagious.

Symptoms Of Psoriasis

Psoriasis symptoms are often seen at sites like knees, elbows and scalp. Psoriasis is a common skin disease caused due to rapid reproduction of cells, consequently resulting in red and dry patches of thickened skin. The quick building up of skin cells in a particular region leads to flaking and results in scaling which is a characteristic of psoriasis.

Mild psoriasis often goes unnoticed. Faint dry patches and very fine scaling is observed in mild psoriasis and these psoriasis symptoms go undetected usually. Severe psoriasis can however be very embarrassing for many. Sometimes almost the whole body gets affected by psoriasis and its symptoms are visible throughout the body. Here are some of the signs and symptoms of psoriasis:

Psoriasis symptoms typically involve red or pink patches of thickened skin accompanied by scaling.
It may occur in the form of small, flattened bumps or the affected region might have thick plaques of dry skin with redness. This dry skin may flake off often.

Scalp psoriasis is similar to dandruff and causes flaking and scaling of skin on and around the scalps. Though it is difficult to distinguish scalp psoriasis symptoms from that of seborrhea (dandruff), the treatment for both the conditions is quite similar.

Pinpoint depressions or white spots on nails can be some symptom of psoriasis on the nails. In some cases psoriasis on nails looks like yellowish brown separation of the nail bed and is referred to as “oil spot”. Nail psoriasis can be misdiagnosed as fungal nail infection.

Due to scratching or pulling off the small dry flakes of skin causes tiny blood spots on the skin. This special psoriasis symptom is known as Auspitz sign.

Psoriasis takes a variable course and it periodically improves and worsens. Most people report worsening of the condition in winters, and improvement in warmer climates.

Once psoriasis symptoms are detected, it is recommended to consult a dermatologist to know the possible treatments for this skin condition.

Types Of Psoriasis

If there is something you want to learn about psoriasis that is not presented on this website, we highly recommend checking out Wikipedia for additional info.

There are five known types of this skin disease:
  1. Plaque
  2. Guttate
  3. Inverse
  4. Pustular
  5. Erythrodermic
  • Plaque psoriasis is the most common form usually manifests as red and white hues of scaly patches. They appear on the top layer of skin called ephidermis. There are some cases however where there are no dermatological symptoms. The silvery appearance is caused by rapid accumulation of skin. It usually occurs on the elbows and knees as well as scalp, palms and soles of feet and genitals. Psoriasis skin disease is likely to be found on the outer side of the joint unlike eczema.
  • Pustular psoriasis manifest in the shape of raised bumps filled with pustules – nonifectious pus. It can be localised, usually to the hand and feet. There are several types of pustular psoriasis: generalized pustular psoriasis, pustulosis palmaris et plantaris, annular pustular psoriasis, acrodermatitis continua, impetigo herpetiformis. Nonpustular psoriasis can be psoriasis vulgaris and psoriatic erythroderma.
  • Psoriasis can manifest in different stages of severity, ranging from small patches to complete body coverage. Beside skin and hair, toenails are often affected by it. It can also cause inflammation of tje joints (this is known as psoriatic arthritis). It is estimated that around 12% of psoriasis patients have psoriatic arthritis.

Psoriasis is very hard to treat because of its chronic recurrent nature, however there are many treatment a patient can implement.

What Causes Psoriasis?

What causes psoriasis is a question that has been bothering researchers and scientists for long. The chronic skin disorder, psoriasis affects around 1% to 3% of the population and causes red, scaly patches on skin. Though there is no exact reason for occurrence of psoriasis in an individual, several factors together contribute to the development of this skin disorder.

Our normal skin consists of two layers- the epidermis which is the outer layer and the dermis which is the underlying or the inner layer. The creation of skin cells takes place in the dermis and these cells move up to the skin surface through the epidermis. The skin cells die and are then replaced by new cells. This process goes on continually. The maturing and shedding of skin cells normally takes around a month.

However, what causes psoriasis is the disruption of this normal cycle of creating, dying and replacing of cells. The skin cells die within three to four days and start reproducing a lot faster than in a normal cycle. The dead cells thus build up on the skin and form thick flaky patches, usually referred to as plaques. They appear red due to the increased blood supply to the region where skin cells are multiplying abnormally.

What causes psoriasis and how can it be prevented still remains a big question. Some of the different causes of psoriasis are:
  • Genetic Causes (Heredity)
Around one third cases of psoriasis are caused due to heredity. If one parent has psoriasis, there is a chance that the child might inherit this disorder too. In cases both the parents are suffering from this disorder, the chances of child inheriting psoriasis symptoms become even higher.
  • Immune System Causes
The immune system produces white blood cells which generate antibodies to counter harmful, disease causing bacteria, viruses etc. Other chemicals are also produced by the immune system in the body to aid the healing process. In case of psoriasis, special white blood cells known as T-cells become overly active. A cascading effect is produced when the T-cells attack the skin cells and the large amount of chemicals produced by them cause inflammation of skin.

Psoriasis worsens at some times, while at other times it improves. There can be various environmental factors as well which can be responsible for triggering psoriasis in a person. These factors can vary from one individual to another. Once the cause of the disease is diagnosed, a suitable treatment can be undertaken.

Psoriasis Diagnosis

Psoriasis diagnosis can be made quite easily by most dermatologists.  Skin changes and the location of the disorder are usually the two factors used for psoriasis diagnosis i.e. to determine whether a person is suffering from psoriasis or not. Though the disease is quite recognizable, it can be confused for some other skin disease and the vice versa is also possible. Until and unless a conclusion cannot be drawn about the disease, by analyzing the skin, no further testing is required. In such special cases, skin biopsy is recommended in order to diagnose psoriasis.

Here is how psoriasis diagnosis can be done by physical examination.
  • Appearance of bright, reddened lesions surrounded by silvery white scales and noticeable edge-lines. Scaling is often recognized as a characteristic symptom of psoriasis.
  • Tenderness is observed beneath the scaled skin.
  • If the moist skin is scraped off, tiny blood droplets appear.
Psoriasis diagnosis by analyzing blood is done as follows:
  • Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR, SED rate), a measurement of the rate of settlement of red blood cells on the bottom of the test tube increases in case of a person suffering from psoriasis. A high sedimentation rate signifies the possibility of an inflammatory disease in the body. This is particularly noted in case of ‘Pustular psoriasis’.
  • Uric acid content increases in the blood. (Around 10-20% increase)
  • In case, psoriasis leads to anemia, the number of red blood cells falls below normal.
Psoriasis diagnosis is easier than determining the severity of psoriasis. Determining how sever the psoriasis condition is, helps in determining which kind of therapy should be followed for an individual. Psoriasis Area Severity Index (PASI) is one of the most commonly and popularly used method. This is an objective measure which helps in identifying which areas of the body are affected by the disease and how severe is it in each region. 

The body is first divided into four regions viz. head, trunk, upper extremities and lower extremities. All these parts carry different weights corresponding to the amount or percentage of whole body surface, which they represent. Each of these 4 regions is then examined for the severity of the disorder. The thickness of skin, scaling and redness is observed in each region separately. A well designed mathematical procedure is then followed and a score in the range of 0 to 72 is assigned to the severity of the disorder.

Once the diagnosis is complete, the dermatologist can proceed with a therapy well-tailored to the needs and requirements of the patient.

Treatment For Psoriaris

Treatments for psoriasis aren’t expensive and they can be quite efficient. Psoriasis is a skin disorder characterized by scaling and flaking off of skin. Though no permanent cure has yet been discovered for psoriasis, various treatments for psoriasis have come up recently in order to control the disease and many dermatologists, physicians and health professionals specialize in treatment of diseases associated with psoriasis.

There are a number of options available as treatments for psoriasis. Which treatment one should undertake depends upon the severity of psoriasis as well as what the treating physician thinks, is the best suited for an individual.

Here are some of the available options:
  • In case of mild psoriasis, which affects only a small region of the body, topical creams are quite popular. Various lotions and sprays are available in the market, which claim to cure psoriasis. While some of them are not as effective, some have proven to be effective and safe to use.
  • Some doctors suggest a small local injection of steroids, injected into a resistant isolated psoriasis plaque.
  • In cases of moderate to severe psoriasis which affects 20% or more of total skin surface, topical creams and lotions might not be advisable. Such cases demand more attention and systematic treatment of the disorder. Various pills are available for treatment of severe psoriasis. These clubbed with proper diet, light treatments and injections are usually recommended by dermatologists.
  • Arthritis is often seen to be associated with psoriasis. For psoriatic arthritis, systematic dosage of medication helps in controlling the progression of the disease.
  • Amongst the various treatments for psoriasis, “Rotational therapy” is one of the most effective mechanisms of treating psoriasis. In this method cycles of psoriasis treatments are changed every six to twenty-four moths. This helps in ensuring that the side-effects caused due to any particular treatment can be minimized and hence a particular treatment is not practiced for long durations.  For those who are treated with intensive medication, can be switched to lighter forms of therapy for a while to give their bodies a break.
  • Coal tar shampoo is a popular choice for treatment of psoriasis of scalp.
Apart from all these, there are various natural cures and herbal remedies which can be opted for treating psoriasis. Taking regular baths with warm water, exposure to little amounts of sunlight, nutritious diet etc., all contribute in catalyzing the natural healing process of the body. Consulting a dermatologist at an early stage is helpful in controlling the disease at the right time and preventing further spread of it.

Natural Psoriasis Treatment

Natural psoriasis treatment is always welcome. A number of people suffering from psoriasis are looking for natural psoriasis treatment these days. This is due to the fact that natural treatments are quite effective as well as they usually do not have any severe side-effects, as found in the case of allopathic medicines.

Let us have a quick look at some of the natural psoriasis treatment options available today:

  • Cat’s Claw: This plant is a tropical vine found in the rainforests and jungles of South America and Asia. The reason why this plant is called Cat’s claw, is owing to its thorns which form a claw to attach the vine to the trees and hence resemble a cat’s claw. This plant can be very beneficial in curing psoriasis and has been used by South Americans since long. Awareness about this plant has started to spread in the rest of the world now.
  • Sarsaparilla: You may not know this, but the delicious flavor in your root beer comes from the roots of sarsaparilla. The roots of sarsaparilla are in fact quite handy in curing psoriasis and are one of the best natural psoriasis treatments. The medicinal qualities of this plant are helpful in getting rid of bodily infections and eliminating toxins through urine and perspiration.
  • Pau D’Arco: This is the inner bark of Tabebuis Avellanedae tree originally grown in Brazil. Pau D’acro has numerous medicinal properties and is a great anti-oxidant. It also possesses anti-parasitic, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, all in one! This natural psoriasis treatment can give you the best imaginable result.
  • Dead Sea salts: Dead sea salt is a great soothing agent and possesses anti-inflammatory properties. Why “dead sea” is preferred instead of any other sea, is because dead sea contains higher concentration of salts as compared to other seas. This in turn leads to higher concentration of other necessary minerals present in salt like calcium, potassium, and magnesium which are known to be helpful in curing any skin disease. To find relief from itching, scaling and other symptoms of psoriasis it is recommended to take regular baths of dead sea salt in warm water.
  • Bitter Gourd: It is recommended that the patient should drink at least one cup of fresh juice of bitter gourd, on an empty stomach, preferably in the morning, everyday. This is one of the most effective natural remedies for psoriasis.
  • Natural oils: Undoubtedly natural oils like wheat germ oil, castor oil, sunflower oil, oil of avocado etc provide great relief to affected regions when mixed in right proportions and applied like a natural lotion.

What is the Best Psoriasis Treatment for You?

The best psoriasis treatment is one which works best for you. No treatment can be singled out to be the best one and different therapies work for different patients. However, one must be aware that no permanent cure for psoriasis has yet been found, still various treatments help to control the disease and reduce the frequency of occurrence of its symptoms.

Various treatment options include- Topical treatments (involving direct application of ointments of creams), Phototherapy (exposure to sunlight), Systematic treatment using medications, natural treatments and home remedies. The best psoriasis treatment can be one which is effective in controlling the symptoms of the disorder and has minimum or no side effects. Most people nowadays opt for non-traditional treatments in order to avoid the harmful side-effects believed to be caused by some traditional ways of treating psoriasis. Here are some tips and tricks to help you deal with psoriasis:
  • Make sure that you moisturize the affected regions regularly. Use a good moisturizer or cream which suits your skin.
  • Take a warm bath at least twice a day.
  • Heliotherapy is one of the best ways to improve the psoriasis condition. Make sure to get some natural sunlight exposure but do not overdo it.
  • Aloe Vera gels prove to be quite helpful in softening the scabs so that they can be scraped off easily.
  • Some of the prescription medicines like NSIDs, lithium, and beta-blockers can flare up psoriasis and worsen the symptoms even more. If you are taking these medicines, make sure you take them under supervision and consult you dermatologist or healthcare professional before introducing any change in the dosage or medicine.
  • If you really want to get rid of psoriasis it is imperative that you quit smoking if you are a smoker. Alcohol consumption is also a strict “no-no”. Alcohol and cigarettes can deteriorate the condition beyond expectations and hence one must carefully avoid them.
  • A well balanced diet including green leafy vegetables and fruits must be taken. Citrus fruits must be avoided. One must be prepared to give up spicy food as well, as it is known to flare up the psoriasis condition.
Finding the best psoriasis treatment hence is a matter of suitability and effectiveness of the treatment. Any treatment that you follow will however work only if you are ready to take proper care of yourself and make sure that you take precautions in order to prevent the condition from deteriorating.

finally this article about Psoriasis has ended hopefully what is conveyed useful for you all.






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