Psoriasis

Overview

Psoriasis is a relatively common, chronic skin condition. It is often located on elbows, knees, and the scalp, but it can affect many other areas of the body.

Symptoms

Several types of psoriasis exist. Plaque psoriasis is the most common and involves red skin lesions that are covered with silvery scales. Plaque psoriasis may cover small or large body areas. The second type, Nail psoriasis, can cause the finger or toenails to pit, discolor and grow abnormally. Scalp psoriasis appears as red areas with white scales and produces flake-like dandruff. Guttate psoriasis, the fourth type, is triggered by a bacterial infection that causes small, tear-drop shaped red lesions all over the body. This type is not usually seen in people over 30 years of age and individuals may have one or repeated episodes. The fifth type is Inverse psoriasis which affects armpits, groin, and breast areas with smooth, red, inflamed lesions. Inverse is more often seen when people are overweight and it is aggravated by heat, friction and sweating. The sixth type is rare. Pustular psoriasis can cover large or small areas with sores that turn into pus-filled blisters, which dry within a couple of days. Blisters may reappear and the individual may experience chills and fever. The seventh type of psoriasis is Erythrodermic. Symptoms of this uncommon type include a red, peeling , itchy, burning, rash that covers the entire body.

Coping with psoriasis can be difficult because it is uncomfortable and unsightly. Worry and stress may actually make treatments less effective. Psoriasis impacts one’s quality of life, some say, more than any other condition except for depression.

Causes

The causes of psoriasis are not fully understood. Physicians know the skin disruptions are the result of excessive growth and reproduction of skin cells. Many theorize that T cells are over active in those who suffer with psoriasis although no one understands why that is so. T cells involved with psoriasis reproduce healthy skin cells, more T cells, and more white blood cells at a rapid rate. The body is unable to slough off the numbers of skin cells created and they build up in layers on the skin surface creating the silver-white patches. This condition continues indefinitely unless treatment disrupts the cycle. Proponents of this theory believe it to be an immune-mediated condition because T cells normally protect the body against infection.  Continue reading for Prevention information . . .

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