Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that impacts the lives of about 7.5 million Americans. It can occur anywhere on the body and become emotionally debilitating. Psoriasis is not an infection rather it is an autoimmune condition where the immune system sends faulty signals to the body to speed production of skin cells, leading to a rash and thickened skin. Accurate diagnosis by a board certified dermatologist is important because psoriasis can be associated with serious health conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, and depression.
There are five basic forms of the disease:
- Psoriasis vulgaris, also called plaque psoriasis, is most common, diagnosed in about 80 percent of cases. It is characterized by inflamed, raised lesions covered with silvery scales. It typically shows up on the scalp, knees, elbows, and lower back. Stress is a frequent trigger.
- Guttate psoriasis usually starts in childhood. Small, red spots appear suddenly on arms, legs, and trunk. It may be triggered by strep throat, upper respiratory infection, tonsillitis, stress, injury, or some drugs.
- Inverse psoriasis occurs in skin folds – underarms, below breasts, at groin and buttocks. Its red lesions are brightly colored and shiny, easily irritated by sweating.
- Pustular psoriasis involves white blisters and reddened skin. It appears on feet and hands, sometimes all over the body. It is triggered by medications, sunburn, pregnancy, or infection.
- Erythrodermic psoriasis is the most inflammatory form, affecting widespread areas of the body. Skin becomes fiery red with extensive involvement, and then sheds in large sheets. Because it is accompanied by pain, itching, body temperature fluctuations, and increased heart rate, sufferers should seek immediate medical treatment. Without care, this condition can result in loss of fluids and proteins, pneumonia, and congestive heart failure.
At this time, there is no known cure for psoriasis. However, with accurate diagnosis, it may be managed effectively. Topical treatment to normalize cell reproduction is usually the first option.
Getting psoriasis under control can be a life-changing experience. Call the Lupo Center for Aesthetic and General Dermatology today for an expert diagnosis and customized treatment plan.