Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease, meaning it is present throughout an individual’s lifetime. The cause of this condition is a malfunctioning immune system that signals skin cells to reproduce too rapidly. In a normally functioning immune system, new skin cells grow over the course of weeks, and the old cells are shed away gradually. Sufferers of psoriasis gain new skin cells in just a matter of days, leading to a buildup of scaly patches and other complications. It is not contagious and can only develop in those who inherit the genes that manifest it.
There are several types of psoriasis, and each has its own set of symptoms. It is possible for sufferers to have more than one type at a time. In addition, individuals may not show every symptom related to their type of psoriasis.
Plaque psoriasis is quite common, with raised red patches of skin that are often covered in thick silver-colored scales. This form is frequently seen on the scalp, elbows, knees and lower back. However, it can occur anywhere on the body. Plaque psoriasis patches can be itchy, and scratching leads to thickening of the patches. Nail issues like pitting, crumbling and breaking are sometimes seen in association with this form.
Small red spots of psoriasis on the trunk, arms and legs are indicators of guttate psoriasis. The scalp, ears and face are other less common locations for this form of psoriasis. Guttate psoriasis tends to be triggered by an illness, most often strep throat. It’s possible that symptoms of this type can be temporary, clearing up on their own in a few weeks or months.
Pustular psoriasis, as its name implies, is marked by pus-filled bumps on the skin. These bumps cause soreness and are usually located on the soles of the feet or the palms of the hands. Brown dots or scales are the product of bumps that dry up. If this type of psoriasis spreads across the skin, it is usually accompanied by a number of symptoms that may mimic the flu.
Smooth, red, raw-looking patches of skin in areas such as beneath the breasts, the armpits, groin and buttocks are most likely inverse psoriasis. These patches are often quite sore. They only occur in areas in which the skin rubs against skin, causing friction of some type.
Erythrodermic psoriasis is the last type. It manifests in bright red skin all over the body that appears to be burned. Sufferers have difficulty maintaining body temperature and are either hot or cold. Intense pain and itching with rapid heartbeat are other symptoms. This type of psoriasis requires immediate medical attention, as it could be fatal.
Psoriasis cannot be cured, but it can be managed. While some people may notice their symptoms go into a remission, this is not common. Discuss treatment options with the team at Doctor’s Approach in Okemos and take an active role in your treatment in order to have the best chance of controlling symptoms.