Psoriasis - Types and Symptoms

Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease characterized by inflammation and proliferation of cells of the superficial layer of the skin.

In this paper we will explain what psoriasis is and what its types and symptoms are.

Psoriasis
Psoriasis
 


What is psoriasis?


What is psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a skin disease, it is not contagious and arises due to the rapid replication and proliferation of skin cells, causing thickening, inflammation and desquamation. Psoriasis can cause injury or be a mild illness with extensive lesions and arthropathy.

Psoriasis is a chronic disease with no cure yet. The disease affects men and women equally and affects all ethnic groups, being, however, more common in Caucasians (whites) than in blacks. Psoriasis can appear at any age but usually appears in young adults.

Still it's not fully understood what causes psoriasis. We know, however, that the disease arises due to interactions of genetic, environmental and autoimmune factors (you know what an autoimmune disease is?).

Currently much attention has been given to the role of T lymphocytes, one of our white blood cells (immune cells), which seems to be responsible for skin inflammation in psoriasis. T lymphocytes normally fight invading organisms, but in psoriasis it is inappropriate to consider the skin cells as agents intruders attacking them. The immune attack against the skin causes severe inflammation, stimulates the production of new cells to replace the damaged skin, causing a rapid proliferation of new tissue. As the dead cells can not be eliminated so quickly, the skin begins to thicken, as new layers are formed to push the old surface. This process presents typical lesions of psoriasis, which will be explained in more detail later.


Risk factors for psoriasis

Alcoholism and smoking
Alcoholism and smoking
Anyone can develop psoriasis; however, some factors seem to increase this risk, particularly in genetically susceptible cases:

Symptoms of psoriasis

Psoriasis may develop differently in different patients. There are people with slight injuries and people with most of the skin affected. The typical lesion of psoriasis plaques are red and dry skin with flaking silver / white. These injuries can cause itching and / or pain.

Cases of psoriasis can be classified into different types according to the demonstrations. There are 7 major types of psoriasis (there are still others): plaque psoriasis, guttate psoriasis, inverted psoriasis, erythrodermic psoriasis, nail psoriasis, pustular psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. We will briefly speak about each of them.


Plaque psoriasis
Plaque psoriasis
 

Plaque psoriasis


It is the most common type of psoriasis, corresponding to about 90% of cases. The lesions are plaque, oval, distributed symmetrically on scalp, elbows, knees, belly and back. They may also emerge in hands, feet and face. The plates are reddish, slightly elevated with well defined scaling dry white edges. The lesions tend to be 1-10 cm in diameter and may be single or multiple lesions. The plates are usually asymptomatic, but some patients complain of itching.



Guttate psoriasis
Guttate psoriasis
 

Guttate psoriasis


Psoriasis is manifested as microlesions. There are multiple injuries in a teardrop shape, smaller than 1 cm, usually affecting the trunk and upper limbs. Guttate lesions appear abruptly, usually after pharyngitis or tonsillitis by the bacterium streptococcus. This type of psoriasis can disappear forever or be present whenever there is a recurrent bouts of pharyngitis.




Inverted psoriasis
Inverted psoriasis
 

Inverted psoriasis


In this type of psoriasis the lesions appear predominantly in skin folds such as armpits, groin, buttocks, breasts and genital area. It is more common in obese people and worsened by friction and moisture from sweat. The inverted psoriasis causes red lesions without scaling and is often confused with bacterial or fungal lesions.





Nail psoriasis
Nail psoriasis
 

Nail psoriasis


Involvement of the nail psoriasis, as is the hands of the feet, can occur alone or accompanied by skin lesions. The typical lesions are small depressions (holes), thickening and yellowish nails.





Pustular psoriasis
Pustular psoriasis
 

Pustular psoriasis


Pustular psoriasis is an uncommon case of psoriasis which is characterized by rapid onset of red lesions, and painful pustules (pus-filled blisters) on its surface. It is a localized form that is restricted to hands and feet, and a disseminated form, the more severe variant, which goes together with fever, chills, prostration, and hepatitis. These lesions are with pus, but are sterile, i.e. not contaminated by bacteria and not infectious.


Erythrodermic psoriasis
Erythrodermic psoriasis
 

Erythrodermic psoriasis


It is the rarest form of psoriasis. In this type red lesions occur, pain and desquamation diffusely over 80% of body surface. It is a severe form of psoriasis, a medical emergency, because all inflamed skin loses its status as a barrier against germs from outside, leaving the patient exposed to serious infections.




Psoriatic arthritis
Psoriatic arthritis
 

Psoriatic arthritis


Involvement of joints with arthritis (joint inflammation) is a complication that occurs in about 10% of psoriasis cases. The arthritis usually occurs in hands or feet and can be disfiguring. The lesion is usually common in nails and there is a relationship between the severity of skin lesions with the risk of developing arthritis.






Conclusion

As have been already mentioned, the vast majority of cases of psoriasis are plaque psoriasis. It is usually a chronic disease with a cyclical evolution, with periods of exacerbation alternating with periods of remission. 25% of patients experience periods of remission, remaining temporarily without injuries. Despite being an incurable disease, up to 80% of cases are considered mild or of moderate severity.

Some medications are associated with exacerbations of skin lesions, including propranolol, captopril, anti-inflammatory drugs and lithium. Stress, cold, excessive sun exposure, alcohol abuse and infections are also factors that may exacerbate the disease.

Psoriasis patients also have increased risk of cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, malignancies, especially lymphomas and inflammatory bowel disease. The diagnosis is made clinically by history and clinical examination of skin lesions. In atypical cases, skin biopsy can be done, but this is rarely necessary.

General keywords

User discussion

Leonard
27 March 2012
Has anybody heard of therapeutic mud baths for curing psoriasis? Or are there any recipes of traditional medicine for this purpose? I remember, I have read somewhere about using ashes of juniper tree.
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Julia
04 April 2012
My child was diagnosed with photodermatitis. She has a rash after being in the sun which itches for 2 weeks after sunbathing. Unfortunately, it is not amenable to treatment - you can only use sunscreen. But what can be done, if we forgot to use it and these "spots" appeared? What drugs can be used to have them disappear faster, less itching?
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