Unpredictable and annoying, psoriasis is one skin condition that affects millions of people across the globe. However, not much is known about this serious medical condition. Characterized by red and dry patches of skin, Psoriasis can develop on any part of the body, but mostly affects knees, elbows, belly button, scalp and buttocks. Its outbreak can last for week or months and it can also reappear. As August marks the Psoriasis Awareness Month, let’s take a closer look at the disease – its causes, symptoms, types, risks and treatment options to get a better understanding about it.
What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a skin condition characterized by scaly rashes, red patches and itchy plaques on the skin which are caused by the auto immune system. It occurs when the normal skin cells of the body are accelerated by the immune system, resulting in a build-up of dead cell, which then form a thick, scale like appearance.
What causes Psoriasis?
While the exact cause of Psoriasis is still being investigated by the doctors and scientists, it is known that genetics and one’s immune system play a very important role in its development. The condition is also linked to environmental triggers. Some of the most common Psoriasis triggers that aggravate the condition are as follows:
- Skin injury
- Certain medication
Symptoms to Watch Out For
The telltale signs of Psoriasis include:
- Itchy, flaking or burning skin
- Inflammation of the skin
- Stiff and swollen joints
- Patches of red skin
- Scaly skin
Types of Psoriasis
There are 5 different types of Psoriasis and all are characterized by abnormal skin condition:
Out of the 5 types, plaque psoriasis is the most common, comprising of almost 80 percent of all cases. It is characterized by inflamed, red patches with a build-up of white dead skin cells (referred as plaque). Plaque psoriasis can occur on any part of the body but mostly affects the knees, elbows, scalp and lower back.
Risk Factors for Psoriasis:
Although any individual can get psoriasis, there are certain factors that increase the risk. These factors include ones family history, obesity, stress, smoking and bacterial and viral infection.
The treatment for psoriasis aims at reducing the inflammation and clearing the skin. There are different classes of medications that can significantly alleviate psoriatic symptoms. Read on to know them:
Topical Treatment: In mild to moderate cases, it has been found that usage of certain creams and ointments alone is very effective. However, in serious cases, these creams are used in combination with other forms of treatment. This class of treatment include vitamin D analogues, calcineurin inhibitors, topical corticosteroids, topical corticosteroids and moisturizers. After applying the cream and ointment, it is advised to wash hands properly with a soap or hand sanitizer.
Light Therapy: This mode of treatment involves the usage of sunlight, Goeckerman therapy, UVB phototherapy, excimer laser and psoralen plus ultraviolet A (PUVA) for treating psoriasis. The exposure of light is controlled to limit the side effects and damage.
Systemic Medication: If none of the above-mentioned treatments work, there are certain drugs (that may have side effects) are used. These drugs include methotrexate, retinoids, cyclosporine and a class of drugs called biologics that are known to alter the immune system.
It is advised that you buy all medical supplies required for the treatment, like creams and ointments, from reputed medical supply stores only. Smart Medical Buyer is one such online medical portal from where you can buy a range of quality medical supplies, from thermometer and 3 ply surgical mask to hand sanitizers and gloves.
Psoriasis can be a challenging condition to deal with, but you can manage it better by keeping a check on the symptoms, making regular appointments with the doctor and discussing a treatment plan that works best for you. If you feel you have the symptoms, Psoriasis Awareness Month is a good time to book an appointment with your skin doctor and clear all your doubts about this inflammatory skin disease.