Information You Need To Know About Psoriasis

What is psoriasis?

First of all, Psoriasis is a long term skin disease with no cure. It causes red and itchy scaly patches on the skin. Secondly, these patches can be found mostly on the knees, scalp and elbows. Some patients report that psoriasis burns and stings. In addition, it is also associated with other serious conditions such as diabetes, heart problems and depression.

How Do You Get Psoriasis?

Scientists and doctors are uncertain as to what causes psoriasis. But they have come up with some general ideas. One of which is that the immune system and genetics play the biggest roles in developing psoriasis.

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune conditions are the result of the body attacking itself. In the case of psoriasis, white blood cells (also known as T cells) mistakenly attack the skin cells.

Speaking of genetics, if you have a family member with psoriasis, your chances of developing it is higher. However, according to NFP or National Psoriasis Foundation, only 2-3% of people with these genes develop psoriasis.

Men and women are at the same rate when it comes to getting affected by psoriasis. It often develops between the age of 15 to 35. It can also occur at any time in a person's life span.

What triggers psoriasis?

According to studies, usually there are some things that trigger psoriasis. Researchers believe that for a person to develop psoriasis, that person must have a combination of the genes (that cause psoriasis) and exposure to specific external factors known as “triggers".

Some psoriasis triggers are stress, heavy alcohol consumption, extreme weather conditions and some certain medications as well.

What are the symptoms?

Signs and symptoms vary from person to person. The most common ones are the following:
-red patches of skin
-thick small (silvery) scaly spots
-dry and cracked skin that may bleed
-swollen and stiff joints

How is psoriasis diagnosed?

Primarily, a doctor can examine your skin and will be able to diagnose your skin condition. However, if the doctor isn't sure, further examination might take place. He or she may order a biopsy wherein a small sample of your skin will be observed under a microscope.

If you manifest psoriasis symptoms already, the doctor can order blood tests and X-rays.

How to treat psoriasis?

Unfortunately, Psoriasis doesn't have a cure. The goal of the treatments for psoriasis is to stop skin cells from growing so quickly and to reduce inflammation and scales.

Treatments are to be used depending on their severity and the effectiveness of a certain treatment a person had previously. Treatments for psoriasis can be topical, light therapy, and oral or injected medications.

Topical Medication

The following can be used topically to treat psoriasis:
- Corticosteroids
- Vitamin D analogs
- Retinoids
- Calcineurin inhibitors
- Salicylic acid
- Coal tar
- Goeckerman therapy
- Anthralin

Light Therapy

Talk to your doctor if light therapy is an option for you. Light therapy can be one or a combination of the following:
- Sunlight
- UVB Broadband
- UVB Narrowband
- Psoralen Plus Ultraviolet A (PUVA)
- Excimer laser

Oral or Injected Medication

Oral or injected medications are usually prescribed for a short period of time because of possible side effects:
- Steroids
- Retinoids
- Methotrexate
- Cyclosporine
- Biologics
- Other medications

Research suggests that cases of psoriasis are becoming more common because of the said factors mentioned above. However, this skin condition isn't contagious and you wouldn't wish to have it especially if a family member has psoriasis.

In conclusion, to avoid triggers and the development of psoriasis, try to live a healthy lifestyle and avoid triggers.