Psoriasis is a non-contagious skin disorder attributed to a faulty immune system response. People with psoriasis have swollen, flaky bumps on their bodies, usually on the knees and elbows. This is due to certain lymphocytes in the immune system called T cells trigger the rapid proliferation of skin cells in response to an abnormal signal—it mistakes the skin cells for invader cells. The swelling and flaking are due to the body’s failure to catch up with the quick reproduction of skin cells and to shed off these excess cells just in time.
The manifestations of psoriasis depend on the type of psoriasis a person has. However, there are still some common points among them. Common psoriasis symptoms include characteristic red patches covered in silvery white scales, which are shed off with ease on a regular basis. These patches also produce severe itchiness which is a constant source of discomfort. As was previously mentioned, it is manifested in the joints although it can also appear in other parts of the body like the palms of the hand, the soles of the feet, and the lower back.
For those with psoriatic arthritis, the first indications are seen in the nails. Abnormalities such as crumbling nails, accumulation of dead skin cells under the nails, and appearance of a yellowish discoloration are all signals that the psoriasis has spread in the joints. If not addressed immediately, this type of psoriasis can impair your joints and cause you debilitating pain even when you are just going about with your daily routine.
As for the other types of psoriasis: there is plaque psoriasis with fissures, which is characterized by splits on the surface of the red patches and are more prone to bleeding; guttate psoriasis, a condition induced by a streptococcal (bacterial) infection and is characterized by red drop-like appearances on the skin; pustular psoriasis, in which the red patches are filled with pus and the lesions appear to be whitish; and lastly, palmoplantar pustural psoriasis, which is a subtype of pustular psoriasis that appears on the palms and on the soles.
These different types of psoriasis are also induced by different combinations of factors. Although one’s genetic inheritance is largely responsible for the development of this skin disease, one’s environment also plays an important role. Physical and emotional stressors, contraction of a bacterial infection, as well as abuse of substances like alcohol and nicotine, can all possibly trigger the disease.
One psoriasis treatment that is commonly used is topical medication. It comes in the form of ointments, creams, or moisturizes. They are directly applied on the skins to soothe the itching and burning feeling and to reduce the incidence of scaling. Another psoriasis treatment that is employed is the injection of medication. This is used when the topical medications fail to work on the person.
For those who are allergic to treatments, an alternative approach is used. People with psoriasis are advised to lessen their exposure to triggers of the disease such harmful vices and environmental stressors.