What Is Psoriasis?
What Is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis can be defined as a skin condition whereby the skin cells grow quicker than normal speed, resulting is skin that is characterized by thick red, white or silvery patches. Normally, the skin cells tend to shed every 4 weeks, and as these cells shed, new ones grow to replace them. However, in psoriasis, the skin cells grow more rapidly and move to the surface of the skin in a span of a few days rather than an entire month. These cells build up and form thick patches that are known as ‘plaques’.
These patches are sometimes small and sometimes big in size. The condition of psoriasis is more prevalent among adults, but teens and children are also susceptible to it. The patches that characterize the disease more commonly appear on the elbows, the knees, the feet, the scalp, the hands or the lower back.
Causes Of Psoriasis
The most basic cause of psoriasis is believed to be the overreaction of the immune system, causing the skin to flake and shed off due to severe inflammation. Psoriasis can get aggravated based on conditions dictated by climates that are cold and dry, stress and infections. Research has also documented for certain medicinal drugs such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines or those that are used to treat blood pressure to aggravate and worsen the condition of psoriasis. Furthermore, another cause detected for psoriasis, especially in women, is that of smoking. Smoking can possibly cause the onset of the condition in women and even make it worse if it’s already there.
Symptoms of Psoriasis
The most obvious symptoms of psoriasis include thick red or silvery patches on the skin, more commonly found on the knees or the elbows. There can be several types of psoriasis, and symptoms for each one may vary. However, the most basic symptoms of psoriasis include the following:
- Bright red raised patches found on the skin, accompanied by silvery scales.
- Bleeding if the scales on the skin are scraped
- Plaques on the scalp
- Severe itching, especially during flare-ups or when the red raised patches of psoriasis areas such as under the buttocks or the breasts
- Discoloration of toenails
- Separation of the nail bed from the end of the nail
- Minute pits in the nails
- Swelling, tenderness or pain in the joints
Treatment Of Psoriasis
Psoriasis has been deemed as an incurable disease, at least so far. However, the condition of psoriasis can be controlled with the help of medication, products that can be applied to the skin and phototherapy. If psoriasis is mild in nature then it can very effectively be treated and controlled with the help of skin products. But, if it is severe then it can be hard to treat and may even spread further. No matter how mild the symptoms of the disease are, once you have psoriasis, it always returns.
The most basic treatment pertaining to psoriasis entails combining oral medication and other skin products. This line of treatment works well with mild psoriasis and can help improve the physical appearance of the disease along with alleviation ofpsoriasis symptoms.
A treatment known as occlusion can also be very effective in treating psoriasis. This treatment involves applying skin products such as creams and gels to the affected area and covering it up with tape, fabric or plastic, in order to maintain the moisture in the afflicted area.
Furthermore, phototherapy can work wonders in some cases as well, especially those that are mild to moderate in nature. Phototherapy involves exposing the skin to the sun’s ultraviolet rays with the combination of skin product application. Another line of treatment that can be followed to treat psoriasis is the use of biological medication. These medicines work towards blocking the overreaction of the immune system that is proposed to cause the symptoms of psoriasis. However, this treatment should be the last one to be considered as the effectiveness of this treatment is still shaky and its long term effects remain unknown.
People who have psoriasis that is moderate to severe in nature may need to seek treatment for the whole of their lives. Hence, for such individuals it is advisable to keep rotating and switching between treatments, in order to maximize effectiveness and minimize side effects.