Psoriasis [pronounced sore-EYE-ah-sis] is a noncontagious, lifelong skin disease
that has been diagnosed in approximately 4.5 million adults in the United States
alone. About 10 to 30 percent of people with psoriasis also develop psoriatic
arthritis, which causes pain, stiffness and swelling in and around the joints..
Five types of Psoriasis
As detailed below, there are five types of psoriasis:
- Plaque - the most common form of psoriasis. About 80 percent of all
those who have psoriasis have plaque psoriasis. It is characterized by raised,
inflamed, red lesions covered by a silvery white scale. It is typically found
on the elbows, knees, scalp and lower back.
- Guttate - appears as small red spots on the skin. This form of psoriasis
often starts in childhood or young adulthood. The word "guttate"
is from the Latin word meaning "drop." Guttate psoriasis resembles
small, red, individual spots on the skin. Guttate lesions usually appear on
the trunk and limbs..
- Inverse - Occurs in armpits, groin and skin folds. This type of psoriasis
first shows up as lesions that are very red and usually lack the scale associated
with plaque psoriasis. It may appear smooth and shiny. Inverse psoriasis is
particularly subject to irritation from rubbing and sweating because of its
location in skin folds and tender areas.
- Pustular - usually identified by white blisters surrounded by red
skin and is primarily seen in adults. It may be localized to certain areas
of the body for example, the hands and feet. Pustular psoriasis also
can be generalized, covering most of the body. It tends to go in a cyclereddening
of the skin followed by formation of pustules and scaling.
- Erythrodermic - characterized by intense redness over large areas.
is a particularly inflammatory form of psoriasis that often affects most of
the body surface. It may occur in association with von Zumbusch pustular psoriasis.
It is characterized by periodic, widespread, fiery redness of the skin.
Causes of Psoriasis
The exact cause of psoriasis is unknown, but it is believed that a combination
of several factors (as detailed below) may contribute to the development of
- Malfunctioning immune system
- Weather; cold, dry weather commonly starts a psoriasis flare-up, and hot,
damp, sunny weather makes psoriasis symptoms better.
- Stress, unexpressed anger, and emotional disorders such as depression and
anxiety are strongly associated with psoriasis flare-ups
- Infections caused by bacteria or viruses can cause a psoriasis flare.
- Sometimes even mild injuries to the skin such as abrasions can trigger a psoriasis
- The following drugs are known to either worsen psoriasis or induce a flare-up:
Chloroquine, ACE inhibitors such as monopril or captopril, Beta blockers such
as lopressor or atenolol, Progesterone, Lithium and Indocin.
Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis have no cure, but many different therapies
can reduce, or nearly stop, their symptoms. No single treatment works for everyone,
but something is likely to work in most cases. You may need to experiment before
you find a treatment that works for you. Common Psoriasis treatment options
- Topicals, including steroids
- Phototherapy (exposing the skin to wavelengths of ultraviolet light under
- Systemics (prescription medications that affect the entire body), including
- Alternative approaches (note - many are not tested and studied to the same
extent as traditional medical treatments)
- Diet (many claim that particular diets will reduce the risk of flareup)
- Sun and water therapy (said to be natural therapies that can help improve
psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis for many people)
Additional information about Psoriasis
Please visit the official website for the National Psoriasis Foundation - http://www.psoriasis.org/
Coming Soon; information about:
- Herbs For Psoriasis
- Latest Psoriasis Treatment Options
- Photos Of Psoriasis
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