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Psoriasis is a chronic, immune-systemâ€“based condition that causes skin cells to build up rapidly on the skin’s surface. Signs and symptoms include thick red patches with silvery scales on the elbows, knees, and other body parts
Psoriasis can be itchy and painful. It also often leads to significant emotional stress. It does not cause only visible changes to your appearance, but its chronic nature also means there’s always something you must do to manage symptoms.
What causes psoriasis?
The exact cause isn’t known, but psoriasis seems to be related to an overactive immune system. In people with psoriasis, specific components of the immune system spur the production of skin cells called keratinocytes. They build up quickly on the surface of the skin, forming areas of red, scaly skin.
In rare cases, someone with psoriasis can develop joint pain or inflammation in their eyes. Psoriatic arthritis is a condition that develops in about 15% to 30% of people who have psoriasis. This chronic condition causes pain and stiffness in joints and tendons and eye inflammation that may result in mild to severe vision loss if left untreated.
Symptoms and Types of Psoriasis:
- Plaque Psoriasis
The most common psoriasis is plaque psoriasis, which usually appears as raised patches with a silvery scale on top. They can vary in size from a few millimeters to a few centimeters in diameter, but they’re generally about the same thickness as a pencil eraser.
- Guttate Psoriasis
Guttate psoriasis often begins after an upper respiratory tract infection like strep throat or scarlet fever. It’s marked by small (less than half-inch), water-dropâ€“shaped sores that appear on your trunk, arms, legs, and scalp. They tend to be more red and scaly than plaque psoriasis, and they’re often covered with tiny white or yellow pus-filled blisters.
- Inverse Psoriasis
Inverse psoriasis (also known as flexural psoriasis) usually shows up in the folds of your skin, such as under the arms, in creases of skin, genitals, and buttocks, inside the thigh, and groin area, beneath the breasts, and between the toes. These areas are moist â€” a perfect environment for yeast. So, if you have inverse psoriasis, you may also notice that these patches have a yeasty odour.
4. Pustular Psoriasis
Pustular psoriasis causes pus-filled blisters that tend to stay separate from one another. Pustular psoriasis often starts with a strep infection, usually found on the hands and feet.
- Erythrodermic Psoriasis
Erythrodermic psoriasis is characterized by skin that looks red and feels rough like sandpaper. This form of psoriasis can even cause significant shedding of the outer layer of skin and hair loss throughout the body. The area covered by erythrodermic psoriasis is susceptible to heat and cold, so you may not want to let this one goes untreated for too long.
- Palmoplantar Psoriasis
Palmoplantar psoriasis causes pain, tenderness, and swelling in the hands and feet. It can also cause bumps that are shiny red or silver at first, then scaly over time. You may also notice scaling between your fingers and toes â€” causing them to fan out. Psoriatic arthritis is a common complication of palmoplantar psoriasis.
- Psoriatic Arthritis
Psoriatic arthritis occurs when there’s an inflammatory response in your joints and the tissue around your joints. It can cause both pain and swelling in your joints as well as stiffness from morning tonight. Other symptoms include:
- Tender or stiff joints that are swollen, hot, and sensitive to touch
- Joints that crack pop click, or give way
- Weight loss â€” even if you’re not trying to lose weight
Symptoms of Psoriasis:
-Red Patches with silver scales on the elbows, knees, face, or scalp
-Itchy skin that may burn or sting
-Pain in affected areas of your skin
-Swollen and stiff joints
Signs which can tell you have psoriasis:
- Patches on elbow and knees: Psoriasis patches on the elbow and knees are a tell-tale sign. It is one of the main symptoms of psoriasis. Check the skin on your elbows and knees for dryness, thickening, and scaling.
- Patches on your scalp: It can signify having psoriasis, and it is more likely to have patches on your scalp. Patches on your scalp start as pink and silvery, then grow thicker and turn yellowish-reddish brown.
- Itchy Skin: If you are dealing with unceasing, intense itchiness, then there are chances that you may have Psoriasis. The patches are very itchy and cause a lot of discomfort to the patient.
- Generalized shedding: When your immune system is not working correctly, it starts attacking healthy cells and tissues. This causes a lot of dryness of the skin, which starts shedding and peeling off.
- Painful Joints: Psoriatic Arthritis is a common complication of psoriasis. If your joints are feeling weak and sore, then you might have Psoriasis. Psoriatic arthritis is a form of inflammatory arthritis that can make the joints fragile and vulnerable. You may also experience swollen joints, which are hot and very tender. They are red and feel sensitive to touch.
- Red Patches with silver scales: Silvery scales on the face or scalp may also mean that you have Psoriasis. These scales are thick and have a dry appearance.
- Nail Pitting: Pitting on the nails where you can see small waves is also a sign of Psoriasis.
- More than three new patches per year: So, if there are more than three new patches in an area that has never been affected before and they appear in different stages, then it can be a possibility that you might have psoriasis.
- Rain Drop like rashes: Long-distance raindrop pattern on your skin is also a sign of Psoriasis.If you can relate to these signs and symptoms, then there are chances that you may have Psoriasis.
How Psoriasis is Diagnosed:
Physical Examination:Â In order to be diagnosed with Psoriasis, you need to visit a dermatologist. A dermatologist or skincare doctor will examine your skin and ask about the symptoms and signs of Psoriasis. You need to give them a complete history of your health and provide them with detailed information related to your family’s medical history. The doctor may also take pictures of any active lesions and current spots on the body.
Biopsy:Â In cases where there are dark areas, the doctor may take a biopsy to determine whether you have Psoriasis or not. A small piece of skin will be removed and sent for testing. This can help the doctor understand if you are dealing with Psoriasis or some other disorder.
Lab Investigations: If your dermatologist has diagnosed you with Psoriasis, then they might conduct lab tests like blood tests and imaging scans to rule out any co-existing conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, high cholesterol levels, etc.,
Differential Diagnosis:Â Many different factors can cause red patches on the skin, which look like psoriatic lesions. Hence an experienced physician must make the final diagnosis.
When to visit a doctor for psoriasis treatment?
If you have been experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, it’s time to visit a dermatologist or skin doctor and get yourself diagnosed. Psoriasis is a chronic disease that does not have a cure but can be managed very effectively. Many forms of treatments are available for this disorder, such as topical medications, oral medications (as pills), phototherapy, and systemic medications. You need an expert to counsel you on what method will suit you the best so that your skin can return to normal again. If you ignore psoriasis at the initial stages, it might later become severe and appear on other parts of your body to make it more challenging to treat and manage. Hence, it’s better to start treatment as soon as you notice the symptoms.
Lifestyle changes can also help in managing psoriasis, so make sure that you begin with those. You need to eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and get proper sleep at night; all of these things are essential for your body’s health. Stress is also linked to many medical conditions, so you must manage your stress levels too by getting into meditation or yoga.
Psoriatic treatment is complex and needs to be managed by experienced skin doctors only because there are chances of complications if the method that suits you best isn’t chosen right away. However, some patients find relief in taking oral medications (as pills) prescribed as per their condition, but they might have to take them for an extended period. There are chances that your psoriasis might become severe and spread to other parts of your body, in which case you will have to opt for phototherapy, systemic medications, or biological medications. Psychological problems can also cause psoriasis, so don’t forget to get counselling if required.
Topical Ointments:Â Patients dealing with mild psoriasis can opt for topical ointments or creams, which are very effective and can be applied to the lesions. Your dermatologist will provide you with a list of medications you need to use as per your condition. If you have red patches on your body, but they aren’t itchy, this is the best way to relieve Psoriasis symptoms.
Oral Medications (as pills): In other cases where the psoriatic lesions are widespread or appear under challenging areas like elbows, tight back shoulders, etc., patients might be advised to take oral medications topically as pills instead of applying them directly onto their skin.
Systemic Medications:Â If you have severe forms of psoriasis, your doctor might suggest systemic medications taken orally as pills or through injections (in certain situations). It should be noted that these medicines should be taken under the supervision of an expert only because there can be severe adverse effects if it isn’t done correctly. Some of them include Methotrexate and Fumaric acid esters.
Phototherapy:Â In case you have extensive psoriasis, your doctor might suggest you undergo phototherapy, which is a procedure that uses ultraviolet rays (UVA or UVB) to treat the condition. It’s important to note that this treatment won’t be effective if you have diabetes and taking certain medications because it can cause damage to your body in those situations. Your dermatologist will prescribe the right dosage of UVA or UVB light required for treating psoriasis and how often you should get exposed to these rays.
Homeopathic treatment for psoriasis:
- Homeopathic treatment for psoriasis is a very popular alternative method for treating the condition and helping you manage the symptoms.
- Homeopathic treatments for psoriasis are natural and have no side effects, so it’s one of the safest methods to opt for. They promote skin regeneration, reduce scaling, and help in managing to itch effectively.
- Over-the-counter homeopathic treatments for psoriasis are available, so you can easily buy them if you are aware of homeopathic medicine for psoriasis. Always read the directions carefully before applying these medications to your skin, and don’t forget that it’s better to consult an expert before opting for this method.
- Some of the commonly used homeopathy remedies for treating psoriasis include Arsenicum album, Sulphur, Graphites, Rhus tox, and Psorinum. Your doctor will prescribe these medications in different dilutions as per your condition and how severe your symptoms are.
If you feel that your rash is not typical and you doubt that it can be psoriasis, then it’s better to consult a dermatologist instead of self-medicating. Psoriasis is easy to diagnose in most cases, and there are chances that your treatment can go wrong if you choose the medication on your own without consulting an expert. Make sure that you contact your skin doctor as soon as possible without wasting any time because delaying things will worsen your skin condition. You might have no option but to get affected with psoriatic arthritis later on in life. Going for a regular check-up will also help in finding disease early when it has only developed mild symptoms, so it’s best to maintain a healthy lifestyle from the beginning. You can find the best psoriasis treatment options on OHO Homeopathy. For more information, check the website!