Psoriasis

Published: April 7, 2011

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What Is It?

Psoriasis is a noncontagious, chronic condition of the skin. The disease causes patches of red, dry skin that can become very thick. These patches are caused by skin cells that reproduce at an abnormally fast rate. The patches are usually found on the arms, legs, trunk or scalp, but they may be found on any part of the skin. The knees and elbows tend to be the most commonly affected areas. A psoriasis cure has yet to be discovered, leaving patients only with treatment methods to alleviate pain and discomfort.

Types

There are seven different kinds of psoriasis: plaque psoriasis, guttate psoriasis, seborrheic psoriasis, palmoplantar psoriasis, erythroderma psoriasis, pustular psoriasis, and skin fold psoriasis. These types can affect any part of the body, and symptoms can vary in terms of their severity. Scalp psoriasis is a common area on the body where the disease can occur. Identifying the exact type you are plagued with is crucial when trying to find a cure for psoriasis. There is no such thing as eczema psoriasis, however. Eczema and psoriasis are both skin diseases, but the symptoms are usually different enough for a doctor to differentiate between the two.

Symptoms & Warning Signs

Some people might have red and scaly patches, while other patients show no symptoms at all. Patches might also be inflamed, gray, or white. The disease varies from person to person, and people will experience symptoms to different extents. Most patients experience only mild symptoms, and fewer patients experience moderate to severe scales.

Causes & Risk Factors

Psoriasis has no known cause and can affect people of all ages. Most people will experience their first outbreak before their mid-20s. Psoriasis can cause severe physical discomfort and depression, depending on the prevalence and location of lesions. Patients might have trouble working certain jobs, sitting through class, exercising, or playing sports. Scales might also be unattractive and difficult to conceal. Kids, especially, might have trouble explaining the cause for their condition and that it is not contagious. Psoriasis treatments can also cause a sustaining odor. Psoriasis tends to affect dry skin more than oily or well-moisturized skin. Injuries including superficial or deep cuts could also cause an outbreak. Psoriasis has no known cause.

Prevention & Treatment

The disease has no known cure. In any case, several treatments can help alleviate symptoms. Treatments are based on the disease's severity and location on the body. A doctor will choose to prescribe a combination of psoriasis cream, medications, injections, and ultraviolet radiation treatments.

What works with some people might not work well with others. If you have psoriasis, your best strategy is to stay educated, keep up to date with medical news, and know how to communicate with your doctor. This method is best for getting you the right psoriasis treatment.

Tests & Diagnosis

Doctors cannot diagnose psoriasis with a lab or blood test. Instead, the doctors will need to diagnose the psoriasis visually. A doctor might choose to conduct a skin biopsy or examine the skin under a microscope. After careful examination, they can then determine if you do have the disease, and if so, get you the proper treatment for psoriasis.

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