What You Need to Know About Psoriasis
posted by Orem Family Medicine | June 22, 2017
Skin cells on the body naturally grow throughout life, and sometimes this process can speed up, causing cells to begin building up rapidly on the skin—a condition called psoriasis. It can lead to scales and red patches on the skin, which are often itchy and can be painful.
Psoriasis is a chronic disease that comes and goes in flare-ups. There is no cure, but there are treatments to manage symptoms. Here are the main types, symptoms, causes and treatment methods for psoriasis.
Symptoms of various types of psoriasis can include any listed above, and any of the following:
Most psoriasis cases go through cycles where they’ll flare up for a few weeks or months and then subside. They may even go into complete remission for periods of time.
People with psoriasis are at a greater risk of developing certain other diseases:
Exact causes of psoriasis are not known, but it’s thought to be related to an immune system issue with T cells and other white blood cells in the body. The T cells are meant to defend the body against foreign substances, but with psoriasis, they’ll instead attack healthy skin cells by mistake. This triggers more cell growth.
Psoriasis often starts or worsens based on a trigger, which you can potentially identify and avoid. Some triggers can include:
Anyone can develop psoriasis, but factors that increase risk include:
The goal of psoriasis treatment is to stop skin cells from growing so quickly, and to reduce inflammation and clear the skin. Treatments include:
The traditional approach is to start with the mildest treatments, and progress to stronger ones if necessary. Alternative medicines such as aloe vera, fish oil and Oregon grape have worked for some people, though none have been definitively proven effective.
If you’re dealing with psoriasis, your doctor will recommend a treatment approach for you and your specific case.
“Understanding Psoriasis — the Basics.” WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/psoriasis/understanding-psoriasis-basics#1
“Psoriasis.” The Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/psoriasis/home/ovc-20317577
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.