Psoriasis is a common skin disease characterised by red patches of thickened and/or scaled skin, that can spread to different parts of the body. In psoriasis, new cells grow faster than the epidermis is able to eliminate the dead cells; thus, the excess cells accumulate, forming thick patches. The scales do not always itch, however, if spread to other parts of the body, it may be uncomfortable.
It is commonly passed genetically, implying a genetic factor; one third of these patients have a close relative suffering from psoriasis.
There are four main types of psoriasis, that can be easily identified:
- Plaque psoriasis (psoriasis vulgaris) – multiplication of scales result from the accumulation of dead cells on the elbows. This type is most common.
- Psoriasis guttata, in form of drops – this type develops in children and adolescents, usually after bacterial throat infection; small red scales occur on big part of the body, regularly found on the back
- Psoriasis pustolosa – rare, but life-threatening type developing in adult persons; it occurs suddenly
- Inverse psoriasis – older persons are affected, identified by big damp red patches on areas where skin folds; the patches usually occur on thighs, below the breast or sometimes, beneath the armpits.
Psoriasis causes are unknown, although it is related to immune system problems with cells. The burst can be sudden or additionally deteriorated due to infection, injury, or stress. In some cases, it can be triggered by anti-depressants, anti-hypertensives, anti-malaria drugs, beta blockers, alchohol consumption, smoking.
- Plaque psoriasis – the following symptoms usually last for several weeks or months and can reappear on and off.
- plaques of thickened red skin and scales usually occurring on the elbows, knees, back and scalp, behind the ears, or along the hairline, and sometimes on old scars
- occasional itching at these areas
- loss of color on the nails, where small dimples occur. In severe cases, the nails withdraw from their bedding; in cases when nails become thick, it can be confused with fungi infection.
- Psoriasis guttata – the following symptoms disappear usually in 4-6 months; however, in 50% of the patients it reappears in another form:
- numerous reddish scales, coin-sized, on the back or chest
- occasional itching
- Psoriasis pustulosa – in severe cases it can spread throughout the body, in which case hospitalization is required. The symptoms are:
- small blisters filled with fester on the palms and feet
- spread red, inflamed and acutely soft skin
- thick scales
Family history, obesity, smoking, viral and bacterial infections.
Psoriatic patients may develop other disease: psoriatic arthritis, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, other autoimmune disease, or kidney disease. If not treated, this disease may be life-threatening.