What is Psoriasis? Symptoms & Treatment
posted by Dermatology | April 21, 2017
Skin cells in the body have a typical life cycle, but this cycle can be interrupted by a skin condition called psoriasis. A relatively common condition, psoriasis causes cells to build up too quickly on the surface of the skin, leading to scales and patches on the skin that are itchy, dry and sometimes painful.
Psoriasis is considered a chronic disease, and symptoms can fluctuate over time. It can’t be cured, but the right measures can help significantly reduce symptoms and make the condition much easier to manage. Here are the basics you need to know.
Psoriasis can come in several different forms:
Symptoms vary between each type of psoriasis and even within individual cases, but some of the most common can include:
If you have any of these symptoms, or if they cause extreme discomfort, joint pain or appearance concerns, speak to your doctor. Psoriasis can also increase your risk of numerous other conditions, and can lead to issues with confidence and low self-esteem.
The exact cause of psoriasis isn’t known, although doctors believe it’s related to an immune system issue with cells in the body called T cells. These T cells normally fight negative substances like viruses and bacteria, but in cases of psoriasis, the T cells attack healthy skin instead. This can lead to other immune responses and a repeated cycle.
It’s not fully understood what triggers malfunction of T cells, but potential factors can include:
In addition, there are a few factors that increase your risk of psoriasis:
Save & Exit Diagnosing psoriasis involves a basic physical exam and questions about your symptoms and medical history. It may also include a skin biopsy in some rare cases—a test where a sample of skin is removed and tested. A few other conditions might look similar to psoriasis, and some of them can even occur at the same time.
The goal of psoriasis treatment is to reduce the speed of cell growth that leads to it and remove the scales, making the skin smooth again. Treatment options include:
Various creams are often the first line of defense for mild psoriasis. They include:
Exposing the skin to certain kinds of light, both on its own and combined with other medications can help treat psoriasis. There are a few kinds of light therapy:
Oral or Injected Medications:
In more severe cases of psoriasis, or in cases where other forms of treatment aren’t working, there are other medication forms that might be used:
In general, the first psoriasis treatment will be a more mild form, and may progress if initial treatments don’t succeed. Because of the up-and-down cycles with psoriasis, there will be times where it’s tough to treat.
Some people have found success reducing symptoms with a few basic home remedies.
If you have psoriasis or symptoms that are tough to manage, speak to your doctor about your options.
“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/basics/definition/con-20030838
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.