What is Psoriasis?

July 14, 2018

What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a condition where the body makes new skin cells in days rather than weeks. The skin cells pile up on the surface of the skin leading to thick scaly plaques. These plaques can show up anywhere on the body but typically favor the scalp, knees, elbows and lower back. Without proper treatment, these plaques can cause intense itching, pain and burning.

Is psoriasis curable?

Most people who get psoriasis have it for life. Psoriasis is not curable, however, with appropriate treatment, psoriasis in controllable. By gaining control, you can see clearer (or clear) skin. Your dermatologist will work with you in educating you on triggers, routine skin care, lifestyle changes and how to use your prescribed medication.

In addition, Psoriasis can increase your risk of developing certain diseases, such as psoriatic arthritis or diabetes. Your dermatologist can watch for early signs of disease. If you do develop another disease, early treatment helps to prevent the disease from worsening.

Sign and symptoms:

Dry, thick, and raised patches on the skin are the most common sign of psoriasis. These patches are often covered with a silvery-white coating called scale, and they tend to itch.

Types of psoriasis:

Plaque psoriasis: Plaques usually form on the scalp, elbows, knees, or lower back; however, they can develop anywhere on the skin. Scratching can cause the patches to thicken.

Guttate psoriasis: With this type of psoriasis, tiny red bumps appear on the skin quite suddenly. The bumps tend to cover much of the trunk and extremities.

Palmoplantar psoriasis: Occurs on the palms or soles of the feet and can make just about any activity that requires your hands or feet, such as typing or walking, unbearably painful.

Erythrodermic psoriasis: Serious and life-threatening, this type of psoriasis requires immediate medical care. When someone develops erythrodermic psoriasis, you may notice skin on most of the body looks burnt and constitutional symptoms such as fever and chills. The person may also be unable to keep warm, so hypothermia can set in quickly.

Psoriatic arthritis: If you have psoriasis, it’s important to pay attention to your joints. This is more likely to occur if you have severe psoriasis.

Nail Psoriasis: When psoriasis affects the nails, you may notice: dents in the nails, white/yellow discoloration, crumbling nails or nail lifting.

How do we treat psoriasis? If you have psoriasis, a dermatologist can create a treatment plan to meet your individual needs. To create this plan, your dermatologist will consider the: Type(s) of psoriasis you have, places psoriasis appears on your body, severity of the psoriasis, impact psoriasis has on your life and other medical conditions you have.