Psoriasis is a chronic, non-contagious, skin disease in which the skin cells mature excessively, which results in red or white thick patches of skin. This chronic condition can arise in different parts of the body, including, but not limited to the hands, feet, elbows, knees, lower back, and scalp.
In the case of psoriasis, the skin cells move hastily to the skin surface, in as soon as three to six days, and build up, causing the patches or plaques, whereas in normal cases, skin cells grow and shed almost every 28 days.
Symptoms of Psoriasis can go away (go into remission) and reappear (flare), even without treatment (go into remission).
The symptoms of psoriasis appear in many different ways and fluctuate broadly depending on the location and the severity of the condition. In a mild case of psoriasis, the surface will appear to have minor rash. In moderate cases, the skin appears to be irritated and red covered with flaking, silvery, loose skin. In severe cases, the skin becomes sensitive, inflamed, and itchy. The red patches come together and can cover wide areas of skin, for instance, the whole back, or the whole arm.
There are several other symptoms of psoriasis that can occur such as joint pain and swelling. This is called psoriatic arthritis, which can also take place in the fingernails and toenails. Symptoms in the nails would appear as buildup of skin remains underneath the nails, yellowing, and pitting.
There are several factors that can cause psoriasis. Many times, it can be inherited, however it hasn’t been proven whether or not genes are the only factors that can cause psoriasis. Other factors known to cause the skin condition are: a weakened immune system, a reaction to a certain medicine, dry or cold climate, psychological causes such as stress and anxiety, skin injuries, and Pruritus (itching).
Psychological factors can not only cause this condition but can also conversely be caused by the disorder. For instance, if the disease started early in someone’s life, it can cause embarrassment, social rejection, emptiness, therefore causing psychosocial trauma. In turn, the psychological stress, proven by studies, can cause flares of psoriasis and make the condition worse.
Itching, similarly, due to stress and depression, can cause the disorder, and conversely, the disorder can cause severe itching.
Dermatologists, as well as a regular doctor, can diagnose psoriasis by its appearance of it. A skin test might be needed sometimes but generally dermatologists can diagnose the condition by looking at it.
Although there is no cure for psoriasis yet, there are several different treatment options for psoriasis. Treatment will decrease the severity of the condition and clear it for a period of time. Depending on the severity, the area of the condition and the individual, treatment varies from skin applications to phototherapy to injections. Generally, for a mild case, skin applications will be recommended or prescribed by the dermatologist. For a moderate case, phototherapy (usually ultraviolet light) is sometimes used. Finally, for severe cases, systematic treatment, such as injections are given to the patient. The type of treatment also depends on the patient’s age, health, and psychological condition.