Psoriasis is a non-contagious, persistent autoimmune (overactive immune response attacking body’s own cells and tissues) disease. Psoriasis is manifested on the skin as thick, pink to red patches causing the skin to slit, rupture, itch, bleed, and flake and also to appear as silvery white scales.
Usually the skin cells in the deeper layers grow and replace the surface cells. This process usually takes a month. But in psoriasis, this happens more rapidly.
When the white blood cells (T-Cells) of the immune system mistake the skin cells for a foreign body, and launch attack, it results in psoriasis. It is not known why the immune system attacks the skin cells. There may be periods of absence of psoriasis or periods of remission during which no symptoms of psoriasis are exhibited.
The exact cause of psoriasis is not known. But some of the following that cause psoriasis include the following. Most of these trigger psoriasis as they may weaken or affect immune system or may expose to the factors that trigger psoriasis.
Though it is possible for psoriasis to appear anywhere on the body including scalp, palms, soles and the skin on the joints, psoriasis often affects the skin on the knees and elbows.
Psoriasis begins as small red elevations or swellings or bumps. These red bumps enlarge in size and form scales (surface scales) on the top, which are shed easily. But scales below them stick together and cannot be shed easily. When these bumps are scratched, the lower scales are also scratched away from the skin, making the skin split open and crack, causing bleeding.
As the rash progresses, large lesions can form. The dried silvery white scales on top of these lesions are sometimes called plaques or flakes.
The rash can produce severe problems. They are:
There are other less common forms of psoriasis. Inverse psoriasis manifests under the arm pits, beneath breasts and around the groin, buttocks and genitals.
Another form called Guttae psoriasis involves small, red and flaky spots in children and young adults that appear after strep throat infections. Pustular psoriasis is characterized by pus filled red bumps on the patches or flakes.
Though Psoriasis is incurable, most of the symptoms can be treated with proper medications. These treatments are aimed to reduce new formation of scales, relieve itching and decrease inflammation. Your doctor may recommend various treatments depending on your sex, age, severity and other health conditions.
Common recommended medications include:
Severe cases of psoriasis need treatment approaches other than medications.
Psoriasis is a genetic disorder. It cannot be cured. But psoriasis can be managed and treated. Symptoms such as itching, scaling and flaking can be reduced effectively. Remissions are obtained through proper medications. It is better to discuss with your doctor regarding various treatment options and medications or their dosages available.