Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition characterised by an overproduction of skin cells. The result is scaly patches on the skin’s surface that are itchy, uncomfortable and very noticeable. So the condition is not only physically debilitating, but emotionally debilitating too. It’s common for sufferers to experience low self-esteem and feelings of guilt and shame – a truly heartbreaking side effect. The good news, though, is that sufferers can still maintain a good quality of life by avoiding triggers and using symptomatic treatments.
Psoriasis has many faces and many names. Let’s explore the 5 types in some detail.
This is the most common type, and about 80% of people with the condition suffer from this type. Plaque psoriasis causes red, inflamed patches on the skin with whitish-silver scales. These scales, or ‘plaques’, and are typically found on the elbows, knees and scalp.
This type usually develops in childhood, and causes small pink spots to form on the torso, arms and legs. Guttate psoriasis spots are rarely thick and raised, making it very different in appearance from the other types.
Common among adults, Pustular psoriasis causes pus-filled blisters and broad areas of red, inflamed skin. It’s usually localised to the hands and feet, but can spread to other areas of the body.
Inverse psoriasis results in the formation of bright red, shiny and inflamed skin. It is often found under the armpits or breasts and around the groin or genitals.
Severe and very rare, Erythrodermic psoriasis is similar in appearance to sunburn, covering large portions of the body at one time. Scaly skin can slough off in sheets, and sufferers often run fevers and become very ill.
What causes psoriasis?
Unfortunately, the cause of this autoimmune condition remains unknown. But there are many proven triggers that sufferers can avoid to lessen their symptoms. In most cases, a combination of lifestyle changes and treatments proves to be most beneficial.
There are many possible triggers of this autoimmune condition. Among the most notable are stress, alcohol, smoking, injury, infection, cold and dry weather and certain medications. Sufferers should aim to reduce or completely remove the presence of these factors in their lives while in the treatment process.
Creams and ointments can be helpful in the treatment of mild to moderate psoriasis. These topical treatments include corticosteroids, retinoids, anthralin, vitamin D analogues, salicylic acid, and moisturiser.
In more severe cases, systemic treatments are usually recommended. These consist of oral and injected medications that are carefully monitored and administered over a short period of time. Some of these medications are methotrexate, cyclosporine (Sandimmune), biologics and retinoids.
Ultraviolet or natural light can treat the condition, as it reduces the rapid cell growth. Light treatments are particularly effective in the treatment of mild to moderate cases.
Do you suffer from this condition?
If you have developed a case of mild, moderate or severe psoriasis, don’t leave it untreated. It can seriously affect your quality of life and general wellbeing. And with the many treatments available today, you can reduce your symptoms and suffering. Are you interested in learning more? We can help you with a management plan for your specific condition. Book a consultation with Dr Noks today.