Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that appears on the skin. Psoriasis has no known cause. However, it normally occurs when the immune system mistakes the skin cells as a pathogen, and sends out faulty signals that speed up the growth cycle of skin cells. The tendency toward developing psoriasis is inherited in genes. Psoriasis is not contagious, however, psoriasis has been linked to an increased risk of stroke, and treating high blood lipid levels may lead to improvement. Psoriasis gets better and worse spontaneously and can have periodic remissions (clear skin). Although not curable but is controllable with medication. There are five types of psoriasis:
1- Plaque: most common type of psoriasis. The skin is red and covered with silvery scales and is inflamed. Patches of circular to oval shaped red plaques that itch or burn are typical of plaque psoriasis. The patches are usually found on the arms, legs, trunk, or scalp but may be found on any part of the skin. The most typical areas are the knees and elbows.
2- Guttate: which often starts in childhood or young adulthood, is characterized by small, red spots, mainly on the torso and limbs. Triggers may be respiratory infections, strep throat, tonsillitis, stress, injury to the skin, and use of anti-malarial and beta-blocker medications.
3- Inverse: characterized by bright-red, shiny lesions that appear in skin folds, such as the armpits, groin area, and under the breasts
4- Pustular: characterized by red and scaly skin on the palms of the hands and/or feet with tiny pustules
5- Erythrodermic. : characterized by periodic, fiery redness of the skin and shedding of scales in sheets. This form of psoriasis, triggered by withdrawal from a systemic psoriasis treatment, severe sunburn, infection, and certain medications, requires immediate medical treatment, because it can lead to severe illness.
Causes of Psoriasis
1- Genetic predisposition
2- Environmental factors
3- Emotional stress and trauma
4- Inherited i.e. normally found in members of the same family.
5- The immune system mistakes the skin cells as a pathogen, and sends out faulty signals that speed up the growth cycle of skin cells.
Symptoms of Psoriasis
1- Plaques of red skin, often covered with loose, silver-colored scales;
2- The spots can be itchy and painful, and they sometimes crack and bleed.
3- In severe cases, the plaques of irritated skin will grow and merge into one another, covering large areas.
4- Fingernails and toenails disorders, including discoloration and pitting of the nails; the nails may also begin to crumble or detach from the nail bed.
5- Plaques of scales or crust on the scalp
Treatment of Psoriasis
The main aim of psoriasis treatment is to interrupt the cycle that causes an increased production of skin cells, thereby reducing inflammation and plaque formation. It also aim at removing scales and smoothens the skin.
Treatment of Psoriasis has been divided into three main types:
Topical Treatments: Creams and ointments that you apply to your skin can effectively treat mild to moderate psoriasis. When the disease is more severe, creams are likely to be combined with oral medications or light therapy.
Light Therapy: This psoriasis treatment uses natural or artificial ultraviolet light. The simplest and easiest form of phototherapy involves exposing your skin to controlled amounts of natural sunlight. Other forms of light therapy include the use of artificial ultraviolet A (UVA) or ultraviolet B (UVB) light either alone or in combination with medications.
Systemic Medications: If you have severe psoriasis or it's resistant to other types of treatment, your doctor may prescribe oral or injected drugs. Because of severe side effects, some of these medications are used for only brief periods and may be alternated with other forms of treatment.
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