Psoriasis - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder- it occurs due to hyperactivity of your immune system. In it, your skin replicates much faster than that of usual speed, leading to scale formation over the skin and red patches. It can occur anywhere in the body, but most commonly, it attacks the scalp, elbows, lower back, and knees. However, it is not contagious. It does not spread through touch because it occurs due to an abnormal reaction of your immune system, rather than an attack of a parasite. Psoriasis starts to show its symptoms mostly in early adulthood. In some people, it may even cover large patches of the body. However, they may heal and get back to normal. It is a long term condition with no such cure. The attacks may flare up and settle over time. However, symptoms can be managed with supportive treatment. Also, some lifestyle habits can help in coping up with the disease. 


Symptoms 


The signs and symptoms of psoriasis vary from person to person. Generally, it shows the following signs and symptoms;


  • Red thick silvery patches

  • Dry flaky and cracked skin that may cause itching and eventually bleeding

  • Pitted ridged or thickened nails 

  • Swollen and stiff joints



Types 


Psoriasis may range from little spots to large patches.  It can occur anywhere in the body, but most commonly, it attacks the scalp, elbows, lower back, and knees. However, it is not contagious. It does not spread through touch. The different types of psoriasis can be defined as;


Plaque psoriasis


It is the most common type of psoriasis. In it, thick silver patches like plaques are formed over your skin that are itchy and irritating. Mostly, it affects elbows, knees, lower back, and scalp.


Nail psoriasis


Psoriasis may affect your nails of the finger and toes leading to abnormal growth and discoloration. It can also lead to onycholysis- a condition in which the nail separates from the nail bed. 


Guttate psoriasis 


It is the most common form of psoriasis in children that causes red-pink spots to appear on the skin. Guttate psoriasis is often exacerbated by bacterial infection especially, strep throat. 


Inverse psoriasis 


This kind of psoriasis forms smooth red patches over the skin that worsen due to friction and rubbing as they usually occur in the breast, folds of the groin, and buttock. 


Pustular psoriasis 


It is a rare type of psoriasis that forms small pus-filled pustules over the skin. They usually occur on the smaller areas like that of palms and soles. 


Erythrodermic psoriasis 


It is the least common type of psoriasis in which rashes appear over a large part of the body that are itchy and give a burning sensation.


Psoriatic arthritis 


It is a kind of arthritis that occurs due to psoriasis of joints. The joints become red, swollen, and extremely painful. If left untreated, it can lead to progressive degeneration of joints. 



Causes


The main cause of psoriasis is an autoimmune response. It occurs due to the hyperactivity of your immune system. However, it may trigger due to the following reasons. 


  • Heavy drinking 

  • Smoking 

  • Certain medication use like lithium and antimalarials

  • Skin injury 

  • Weather, especially dry weather 

  • Stress

  • Infections, most commonly strep throat

  • Rapid withdrawal of oral corticosteroids 


Conclusion 


Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder- it occurs due to hyperactivity of your immune system. In it, your skin replicates much faster than that of usual speed, leading to scale formation over the skin and red patches. It can occur anywhere in the body, but most commonly, it attacks the scalp, elbows, lower back, and knees.


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