What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease of the skin. It is a non-contagious disease that currently has no cure.
Causes of Psoriasis
The exact cause of Psoriasis is unknown. There is evidence to show that the immune system plays a role in the disease. Genetic predisposition and environmental factors also have a role in Psoriasis.
Medications for Psoriasis
- Coal tar
- Dithranol (Anthralin)
- Desoximetasone (Topicort)
- Vitamin D3 analogues (Calcipotriol)
Prevention of Psoriasis
Psoriasis is an incurable disease and no methods of prevention exist.
Risk Factors of Psoriasis
- Disability and physical discomfort from awkwardly located outbreaks.
- Inability to walk or sleep due to itching and pain.
- Psychological problems like depression and social isolation
- Severe Psoriasis can be fatal as it inhibits the body’s ability to control temperature and makes it unable to perform barrier functions.
Symptoms of Psoriasis
Psoriasis appears in many different forms including:
- Raised red and white scaly skin that may be localized or spread across the body
- Raised bumps filled with non-infectious pus (called pustules) surrounded by inflamed skin, that may be localized or found across the body.
- Inflammation of the connective tissue of joints, particularly in fingers and toes and also in the knees, hips and spine.
- Smooth, red patches of inflammation under folds of skin, such as in the genital areas, breasts and the stomach in cause of obese people.
- Teardrop shaped, small scaly red patches on the trunk of the body and also hands and feet.
Treatment for Psoriasis
There is no cure for Psoriasis and treatment is symptomatic. Some of the treatment options are:
- Topical Agents like moisturizers, mineral oils and petroleum jelly
- Phototherapy using sunlight and Psoralen and ultraviolet A (PUVA)
- Systemic Treatments such as immunosuppressants, synthetic vitamin A and Biologics taken as pills or through injections
Types of Psoriasis
- Psoriasis Vulgaris is the most common form of Psoriasis, present is almost 80-90% of Psoriasis patients. It is also called Plaque psoriasis, as it shows as areas of raised white scaly, inflamed skin called Plaques.
- Erythrodermic Psoriasis: In this type, inflammation and exfoliation is widespread, covering the entire body. It often happens due to the worsening of Plaque Psoriasis particularly when treatment for plaque psoriasis is suddenly stopped. Severe inflammation and exfoliation can be fatal as it can impede the body’s ability to regulate temperature and perform barrier functions.
- Pustular psoriasis is typically indentified by small raised bumps filled with non-infectious pus, surrounded red and inflamed skin. These may be found all over the body or in localized areas, commonly the hands and feet.
- Other types of Psoriasis include:
- Drug Induced Psoriasis
- Inverse Psoriasis: Occurs in folds of skin particularly around the genitals, armpits, in the folds of the gut and under breast. It shows as smooth inflamed patches that are aggravated by friction and sweat.
- Guttate Psoriasis is characterized by numerous, small, scaly, red teardrop shaped lesions found on the trunk of the body and in the limbs and scalp. It is often preceded by a streptococcal infection.
- Nail Psoriasis can appear as discoloration of the nail bed, lines across the nails, pitting, thickening of skin under the nails, loosening and crumbling of the nails.
- Psoriatic Arthiritis can affect any joint causing inflammation of the connecting tissue. It is most common in joints of fingers and toes, but can also affect hips, knees and the spine. Approximately 10- 15% of people having psoriasis also have Psoriatic Arthiritis.