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Psoriasis – Symptoms, Types, Causes and Treatments

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Psoriasis is one of the most irritating and unpredictable skin disorders. It occurs when skin cells multiply around 10 times faster than usual. As these cells reach the surface of the skin and die, the sheer volume of cells causes red, raised plaques which are coated with white scales. Usually, it occurs on elbows, knees, and scalp and it can affect the palms, torso, and soles of your feet.

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Symptoms

The symptoms may vary according to the types you have. The most common variety is plaque psoriasis of this condition. Here are some of the common symptoms –

  • Disorders of toenails and fingernails, such as pitting of nails and discoloration, and nails may also detach or crumble from the nail bed.
  • Plaques of white scales or crust on scalp
  • Plaques of red skin; mostly coated with silver-colored, loose scales. These lesions are likely to be painful and itchy and they bleed and crack more often. The irritated skin’s plaques will often merge with each other and develop and cover large areas.
  • It is often the main cause of psoriatic arthritis, which causes swelling and pain in the joints. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, around 10 to 30 percent of people having psoriasis also develop psoriatic arthritis.

Types of Psoriasis

Guttate Psoriasis

It often affects young adults and children. It can be noticed with red, small spots, usually on the limbs and torso. Some of the common triggers are strep throat, respiratory infections, stress, tonsillitis, side effects of beta-blocker and anti-malarial medications, and injury to your skin.

Psoriasis

Pustular Psoriasis

It is characterized by scaly and red skin on the feet and/or palms of your hands, followed by tiny pustules.

Inverse Psoriasis

It can be noticed with shiny, bright red lesions which are likely to appear in skin folds, like groin area, and armpits.

Erythrodermic Psoriasis

It can be noticed with fiery, periodic redness of your skin along with the removal of scales in sheets. It is often triggered by withdrawal from severe sunburn, psoriasis treatment, infection and some medications, which need immediate medical care as it causes severe illness.

People suffering from it understand that this disfiguring, and sometimes uncomfortable skin disease can be frustrating and hard to cure. This condition often goes and comes in cycles of flare-ups and remissions in a lifetime. When there are therapies and medications which are helpful to remove the patches of scaly, red thickened skin, there is still no treatment.

Causes of Psoriasis

There are different factors, from trauma and emotional stress to streptococcal infection, likely to cause an episode of psoriasis. According to the recent researches, the main cause of it is some sort of abnormality in the immune system. As around 80 percent of people with flare-ups are reported with recent emotional trauma, such as the death of loved one or a new job, a lot of doctors claim that these external issues work as triggers for the innate problem in immune function.

There are certain drugs and injured skin which can make psoriasis worse, including particular types of beta blockers or blood pressure medications, ibuprofen and anti-malarial medications like hydroxychloroquine.

It is likely to be genetic. It often runs in families but skips generations. For example, granddad and his grandson may have it but his mother may not develop this disease. Even though psoriasis may be embarrassing and stressful, a lot of outbreaks are usually harmless. Generally, symptoms may subside by few months with proper treatment.

Universal Treatments

If you are suffering severe or moderate psoriasis, systematic drugs may be recommended which affect your whole body. Typically they are used when skin condition covers around 5 to 10 percent of your body and some methods may not work, such as treatments and phototherapies applied to the skin, such as ointments, creams, foams, and solutions.

When systematic treatment can be helpful, most of the drugs can lead to serious side effects. Your doctor may have a close look on your condition when you take them. Here are the medications they may prescribe –

  • Apremilast (Otezla): It is helpful to avoid inflammation. It stops a specific enzyme in the immune system. By preventing this enzyme, it slows down various reactions which cause inflammation. It is the latest drug which is used for diseases causing prolonged inflammation, such as psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis. It is also available in tablets.
  • Acitretin (Soriatane): This drug consists of vitamin A and it targets the way skin cells are grown. If you have red skin, inflamed skin with silvery scales, due to plaque psoriasis, it works well when it is used with light phototherapy.

 It works well on its own when it comes to curing pustular psoriasis (breakout of red blisters, or pus bumps) along with erythrodermic psoriasis where your skin looks really peeling and red. This medication leads to serious birth defects even after you stop consuming it. If you are becoming pregnant by 3 years of treatment or if you are pregnant, you shouldn’t take it.

  • Cyclosporine – This medication curbs your immune system and slows down the growth of skin cells. It is booked to relieve severe cases of this disease where nothing else works. It can be taken orally. It is helpful to remove psoriasis but it typically stops providing benefits when you stop using it.

It also has certain risks. The side effects may be high blood pressure, kidney problems, and high cholesterol. Don’t take it if your immune system is weak or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Don’t take the drug for more than one year due to its side effects.

  • Hydroxyurea (Hydrea):This drug causes fewer side effects than other strong drugs but it is less effective. It can lead to high risk of skin cancer and bone marrow problems. If you are planning to be pregnant or if you are pregnant, don’t consume it.
  • Methotrexate – This drug curbs your immune system and slows down the unusual cell growth to ease symptoms. You have to take it at least once in a week either in a shot or by mouth. You will get visible results after four to six weeks.

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