Psoriasis is a common skin condition that changes the life cycle of skin cells. Psoriasis causes cells to build up rapidly on the surface of the skin. The extra skin cells form thick, silvery scales and itchy, dry, red patches that are sometimes painful. Psoriasis is a persistent, long-lasting (chronic) disease.
Causative factors for Psoriasis:
The exact cause of psoriasis is not fully understood. The processes involved in the development of psoriasis as largely understood. Although cold climate and some form of injury can aggravate the problem they cannot be labeled as the cause of disease. The precise cause of psoriasis continues to elude the medical fraternity.
Factors that may trigger psoriasis include:
Infections, such as strep throat or skin infections
Injury to the skin, such as a cut or scrape, bug bite, or a severe sunburn
Heavy alcohol consumption
Red patches of skin covered with silvery scales
Small scaling spots (commonly seen in children)
Dry, cracked skin that may bleed
Itching, burning or soreness
Thickened, pitted or ridged nails
Swollen and stiff joints
Psoriasis patches can range from a few spots of dandruff-like scaling to major eruptions that cover large areas.
Types of Psoriasis:
1.Plaque psoriasis: The most common form, plaque psoriasis causes dry, raised, red skin lesions (plaques) covered with silvery scales. The plaques itch or may be painful and can occur anywhere on your body, including your genitals and the soft tissue inside your mouth. You may have just a few plaques or many.
2.Nail psoriasis: Psoriasis can affect fingernails and toenails, causing pitting, abnormal nail growth and discoloration. Psoriatic nails may become loose and separate from the nail bed. Severe cases may cause the nail to crumble.
3. Scalp psoriasis: Psoriasis on the scalp appears as red, itchy areas with silvery-white scales. The red or scaly areas often extend beyond the hairline. You may notice flakes of dead skin in your hair or on your shoulders, especially after scratching your scalp.
4.Guttate psoriasis: This primarily affects young adults and children. It’s usually triggered by a bacterial infection such as strep throat. It’s marked by small, water-drop-shaped sores on your trunk, arms, legs and scalp. The sores are covered by a fine scale and aren’t as thick as typical plaques are. You may have a single outbreak that goes away on its own, or you may have repeated episodes.
5.Inverse psoriasis: Mainly affecting the skin in the armpits, in the groin, under the breasts and around the genitals, inverse psoriasis causes smooth patches of red, inflamed skin. It’s worsened by friction and sweating. Fungal infections may trigger this type of psoriasis.
6. Pustular psoriasis: This uncommon form of psoriasis can occur in widespread patches (generalized pustular psoriasis) or in smaller areas on your hands, feet or fingertips. It generally develops quickly, with pus-filled blisters appearing just hours after your skin becomes red and tender. The blisters may come and go frequently. Generalized pustular psoriasis can also cause fever, chills, severe itching and diarrhea.
7. Erythrodermic psoriasis: The least common type of psoriasis, erythrodermic psoriasis can cover your entire body with a red, peeling rash that can itch or burn intensely.
8.Psoriatic arthritis: In addition to inflamed, scaly skin, psoriatic arthritis causes pitted, discolored nails and the swollen, painful joints that are typical of arthritis. Symptoms range from mild to severe, and psoriatic arthritis can affect any joint. Although the disease usually isn’t as crippling as other forms of arthritis, it can cause stiffness and progressive joint damage that in the most serious cases may lead to permanent deformity.
How to diagnose psoriasis?
Usually diagnosis of psoriasis depends upon medical history and examining skin, scalp and nails. Skin biopsy is the diagnostic test for Psoriasis. Doctor may take a small sample of skin (biopsy) that’s examined under a microscope to determine the exact type of psoriasis and to rule out other disorders. A skin biopsy can generally be done in a doctor’s office after application of a local anesthetic.