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Psoriasis consists of raised red patches that are covered with light-colored scales on the lower back, most commonly on the knees and elbows, or on the scalp. Other varieties of psoriasis can cause small red spots, white pustules, smooth red lesions where the skin folds, and widespread redness, itching, and pain.
What Causes Psoriasis?
Scientific research indicates that psoriasis may be a disorder that causes our immune system to overreact and rapidly accelerate the production of skin cells. Instead of growing normally and being replaced every month, the cells may mature in as little as three days and pile up on the surface of the skin. Genetics may also play a role, and injuries to the skin, stress, sunburn trauma and other events may lead to an outbreak as well.
Other triggers can include cold or dry weather, certain medications for heart disease, bipolar disorder, malaria, infections, alcohol, or smoking.
What Are the Symptoms of Psoriasis?
In addition to the visible signs listed above, psoriasis can cause discomfort (itching or pain) but very mild cases may remain unnoticed. Embarrassment about appearance is also a common reason for treatment.
Types of Psoriasis
People can suffer from different types of psoriasis. These can be listed as follows:
- Nail psoriasis: This condition affects the toenails and fingernails, causing discoloration, abnormal nail growth and pitting. In some cases, the affected nail either gets separated from the nail bed or it crumbles.
- Plaque Psoriasis: This is one of the most common psoriasis types, causing red, dry, and raised patches on the skin covered with scales. Their number may vary from one person to another and can be either itchy or tender. Plaque psoriasis appears on the back, elbows, scalp, and knees.
- Pustular Psoriasis: This is a rare form of psoriasis that causes scaly and red skin with tiny pus-filled lesions in widespread patches on the feet soles or palms.
- Guttate Psoriasis: This type of psoriasis starts quite early during young adulthood or childhood. It causes red and small drop-shaped spots or lesions to appear on the limbs and torso. The most common triggers of this psoriasis include strep throat, respiratory infections, skin injuries, stress, tonsillitis, or taking beta-blocker and anti-malarial medications.
- Inverse Psoriasis: This condition causes bright and shiny red lesions to appear on the skin folds such as the groin, under the breasts or the armpit. The condition often gets worsened with sweating and friction. This psoriasis condition is triggered mainly by fungal infections.
- Erythrodermic Psoriasis: This is one of the least common types of psoriasis affecting the general public. It covers the entire body with a peeling red rash that can cause intense burning or itching sensations.
- Psoriatic Arthritis: This condition causes painful swollen joints similar to arthritis. In fact, in most cases, this is the only symptom observed. This condition causes nail changes with symptoms ranging from mild and severe. It can cause progressive joint damage and stiffness in the affected joint, which then progresses to permanent damage of joints, in some cases.
Psoriasis may look like other disorders, and medical expertise is needed to diagnose it properly. Because of this, it is important to set up a consultation at Westchester Center for Dermatology.
Our skilled medical professionals will ask whether you are feeling itchiness or joint problems like pain, swelling, or stiffness. They will ask about blood relatives who have had a history of psoriasis. Additionally, they may also ask about any recent changes in your life that have caused stress.
After a physical examination, a sample of your skin, or biopsy, will be taken to the lab. This will help determine whether your skin condition is psoriasis or another disorder.
Other tests used to diagnose psoriasis include blood tests and imaging scans. In cases of psoriatic arthritis, a patient may undergo multiple labs and imaging tests due to its similarity to rheumatoid arthritis.
Can Psoriasis Be Cured Permanently?
There is no permanent cure for psoriasis, but treatments for symptoms are available. A healthy diet and lifestyle can also reduce the symptoms of psoriasis.
Plan meals with balanced nutrition, and exercise regularly. Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce psoriasis flares and improve the effectiveness of psoriasis treatments.
It is also recommended that psoriasis patients quit smoking and limit alcohol consumption. Aside from reducing the effects of psoriasis treatments, these lifestyle habits can also develop other diseases in the heart, blood vessels, liver, and immune system.
How Is Psoriasis Treated at the Westchester Center for Dermatology?
After a careful examination – by our certified dermatologists in Scarsdale – to determine the type and severity of the psoriasis, treatment options may include creams or lotions, phototherapy that may utilize UV lights, or certain prescribed medications. Since no one treatment is best for everyone, the treatment that provides you with the most relief with the fewest side effects is our goal.
Patients living with psoriasis often turn to topical treatments for relief. Here are some common examples:
- Corticosteroids: Potent anti-inflammatory agents, corticosteroids effectively alleviate redness and itching associated with psoriasis.
- Vitamin D Analogues: Examples include calcitriol, which helps control skin cell proliferation, reducing scaling and promoting normal growth in psoriatic skin.
- Topical Retinoids: Derived from vitamin A, these regulate cell turnover, mitigating psoriasis symptoms by promoting healthier skin development.
- Coal Tar: A longstanding remedy, coal tar aids in reducing inflammation and scaling associated with psoriasis, providing relief for affected individuals.
Contact Us to Learn More
To learn more information about psoriasis, contact Westchester Center for Dermatology for a consultation today. Our medical experts will discuss and plan your treatment for psoriasis.