What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is an inflammatory condition that affects the skin, causing the excessive and rapid growth of skin cells. It can lead to the formation of thick, scaly plaques. It can grow anywhere, but most appear on the scalp, elbows, knees, and lower back. Ayurvedic medicine involves ingredients that other medical disciplines have also used to treat psoriasis.
Signs and symptoms of Psoriasis
Psoriasis plaques can range from a few spots of dandruff-like scaling to major eruptions that cover large areas. The disease’s symptoms and appearance vary according to the type and severity of psoriasis. Some common signs and symptoms include:
- Discolored patches or raised plaques of skin that are covered with scales
- Dry or cracked skin that bleeds
- Burning, itching, or soreness near the affected areas
- Pitted or thickened fingernails or toenails
- Swollen joints
Causes of Psoriasis
Psoriasis is considered an incurable, long-term (chronic) inflammatory skin condition. It has a variable course, periodically improving and worsening. It is not unusual for psoriasis to spontaneously clear for years and stay in remission. Many people note a worsening of their symptoms in the colder winter months. A combination of elements, including genetic predisposition and environmental factors, are involved. It is common for psoriasis to be found in members of the same family . Here are some causes:
- Infections, such as strep throat or skin infections
- Weather, especially cold, dry conditions
- Injury to the skin, such as a cut or scrape, a bug bite, or a severe sunburn
- Smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke
- Heavy alcohol consumption
- Certain medications — including lithium, high blood pressure medications and antimalarial drugs
- Rapid withdrawal of oral or systemic corticosteroids
Anyone can develop psoriasis. About a third of instances begin in the pediatric years. These factors can increase your risk:
- Family history: The condition runs in families. Having one parent with psoriasis increases your risk of getting the disease, and having two parents with psoriasis increases your risk even more.
- Stress: Because stress can impact your immune system, high stress levels may increase your risk of psoriasis.
- Smoking: Smoking tobacco not only increases your risk of psoriasis but also may increase the severity of the disease. Smoking may also play a role in the initial development of the disease.
Types of Psoriasis
There are several types of psoriasis, including:
- Plaque psoriasis. The most common form, plaque psoriasis causes dry, raised, red skin patches (lesions) covered with silvery scales. The plaques might be itchy or tender, and there may be few or many. They usually appear on elbows, knees, lower back and scalp.
- Nail psoriasis. Psoriasis can affect fingernails and toenails, causing pitting, abnormal nail growth and discoloration. Psoriatic nails might loosen and separate from the nail bed (onycholysis). Severe cases may cause the nail to crumble.
- Guttate psoriasis. This type primarily affects young adults and children. It’s usually triggered by a bacterial infection such as strep throat. It’s marked by small, drop-shaped, scaling lesions on the trunk, arms or legs.
- Inverse psoriasis. This mainly affects the skin folds of the groin, buttocks and breasts. Inverse psoriasis causes smooth patches of red skin that worsen with friction and sweating. Fungal infections may trigger this type of psoriasis.
- Pustular psoriasis. This rare form of psoriasis causes clearly defined pus-filled lesions that occur in widespread patches (generalized pustular psoriasis) or in smaller areas on the palms of the hands or the soles of the feet.
- Erythrodermic psoriasis. The least common type of psoriasis, erythrodermic psoriasis can cover your entire body with a red, peeling rash that can itch or burn intensely.
- Psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis causes swollen, painful joints that are typical of arthritis. Sometimes the joint symptoms are the first or only symptom or sign of psoriasis. And at times only nail changes are seen. Symptoms range from mild to severe, and psoriatic arthritis can affect any joint. It can cause stiffness and progressive joint damage that in the most serious cases may lead to permanent joint damage.