Psoriasis: what it is, causes and treatment

Have you heard of psoriasis ? Probably yes, but do you really know the disease and know what it is about? A lot of people are not very clear about what this skin problem is, its causes and what are the treatment methods.

Unfortunately, although it is not contagious, it can greatly affect people’s self-esteem and cause social withdrawal due to shame . This is because it is characterized by reddish spots on the body, that is, it is an apparent disease.

In this article, understand better about the causes, symptoms and treatments for psoriasis. In addition, find out, once and for all, how emotional issues can aggravate the condition.

What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a chronic and non-contagious skin disease , that is, one person cannot pass it on to another. In Brazil, it is estimated that around 3 million individuals live with this problem.

Basically, it is a disease in which the skin suffers from the appearance of some red and scaly spots. Typically, these spots appear on the scalp, knees and elbows. However, they can appear in other parts of the body too, it all depends on the level of severity and intensity.

Psoriasis is cyclic, that is, it appears and disappears periodically, and can be aggravated by some factors that we will see shortly. You may not know it, but there are several celebrities who live with the disease , including Kim Kardashian and Cara Delevingne. Although psoriasis cannot be cured, it can be treated and controlled so that patients with the disease have a better quality of life.

What are the types of psoriasis?

Yes, there are several types of psoriasis. Remember that it is always important to consult a dermatologist to receive the diagnosis. Either way, having access to information about the disease can help you detect when something is not right with you and your body.

Plaque psoriasis

This is the most common manifestation of psoriasis, in which red, dry plaques form on the skin, with whitish or silvery scales. Unfortunately, these plaques itch and may even hurt, which creates a lot of discomfort for those who need to live with the disease. In even more severe cases, the skin around the joints may crack or bleed.

Psoriasis on the scalp

When the disease appears on the scalp, the person realizes that there are red areas with whitish scales that itch a lot. It may even resemble dandruff due to scales.

Nail psoriasis

It is a type of psoriasis that affects the nails of the hands and feet, causing the nail to grow abnormally, become thicker, change color, suffer flaking and even deformations. In more severe cases, the nail may even detach from the nail bed.

Inverted psoriasis

Inverted psoriasis affects the wettest areas of the body, including: groin, armpits, under the breasts and around the genitals. It usually manifests itself through red and inflamed spots.

Guttate psoriasis

Caused by bacterial infections, this type of psoriasis is characterized by small gout-shaped vacations that appear on the trunk, arms, legs and scalp. Unlike plaque psoriasis, guttate is covered with a fine scale.

Pustular psoriasis

Pustular psoriasis is very aggressive, if manifested through blisters, spots or even pustules (balls that appear to have pus) on different parts of the person’s body. In addition, it can cause chills, itching, tiredness and even fever.

Erytodermic psoriasis

This is a type of the disease a little less common and that affects the whole body through red spots that can itch or burn, causing systemic manifestations. It can arise from burns, untimely treatments or infections. These are generalized injuries in 75% or more of the body.

Arthropathic psoriasis

Finally, this last type of psoriasis causes, in addition to inflammation and flaking of the skin, psoriatic arthritis, which causes joint pain. It usually affects the joints of the fingers and toes, as well as the joints of the hips and spine.

What are the causes of psoriasis?

Psoriasis appears mainly before the age of 30 and after 50, but in a number of cases it can develop during childhood as well. The causes of the disease are not fully known, but doctors know that it may be related to some factors:

  • Genetic susceptibility;
  • Immune system;
  • Interactions with the environment;
  • Psychological factors.

In addition, there are certain factors that can aggravate the condition of psoriasis , including stress, medications, alcoholic beverages and psychological factors. That’s right, you didn’t read it wrong, psychological issues can help trigger or worsen a picture of psoriasis. Therefore, people who are experiencing emotional problems or experiencing a crisis may suffer even more from the disease.

How can moments of crisis affect people with psoriasis?

Psoriasis is cyclical, so at times the person is well and at other times he has to deal with the presence of the disease. As previously mentioned, factors such as stress , anxiety and other psychological issues can affect those who suffer from this problem.

Therefore, understanding, diagnosing and treating the disease is essential to avoid very acute crises. Psoriasis can be treated so that the person has a better quality of life. In times of crisis, it is common for people to lose control and let themselves be consumed by stress and anxiety. Financial instability, relationship problems or even crises in the country can aggravate the situation.

The current moment we are living in, the pandemic of the new coronavirus, is marked by anguish and uncertainty. It is the ideal scenario for psoriasis crises to become more acute and disrupt the daily lives of those who suffer from the disease, which, unfortunately, can worsen due to emotional triggers.

To deal with the situation, it is important that the person knows how to recognize and control their emotions . For this, it is recommended that you seek help from a psychologist to learn how to live with the disease in a healthy way.

Why seek psychological help to deal with the disease?

Did you know that Brazil is among the countries that most humiliate and discriminate against people suffering from psoriasis? Unfortunately, this alarming figure was revealed by the CLEAR survey , conducted by Novartis.

The study revealed that among 31 countries, Brazil ranks second in terms of the highest levels of prejudice against those who have the disease. In our country, 96% of psoriasis patients said they had already been humiliated because of the disease. The global average, also very high, is 85%.

A fact that reveals how psoriasis impacts people’s daily lives: 27% of people with the disease stated that they had already been refused care at hairdressers, shops and barber shops. Social coexistence, relationships and work, therefore, are directly affected by those who live with psoriasis . It is an issue that impacts the self-esteem of people who need to face a prejudiced society.

Given this scenario, there is no doubt that having therapy is very important for these patients. They are individuals who need to accept the problem they are facing and understand how to deal with the adversities that may arise on a daily basis due to the difficulty of acceptance of people.

Psychological help helps those who are experiencing this problem to face reality, recognize and deal with their emotions. In addition, it is a time when the person can vent and talk about what they are feeling without having to worry about the judgments. Therapy, therefore, helps not only deal with the emotional crises that can aggravate the disease, but also to accept the reality.

What is the treatment for psoriasis?

Unfortunately, psoriasis has no cure, but that does not mean that there are no adequate and effective treatments to control the manifestation of the disease.

Around 80% of the cases are mild and moderate, making it possible to control the situation through local medication, skin hydration and exposure to the sun. However, it is worth mentioning that the treatment is individualized , as what is effective for one patient may not be for another. That is why it is always important to consult a dermatologist who will closely monitor the patient’s condition.

In more severe cases where the measures mentioned above do not prove to be effective in improving symptoms, treatment by exposure to ultraviolet A (PUVA) or ultraviolet B (narrow band) light in booths may be necessary. There is also an alternative treatment with oral or injectable medications.

Learn more about some of the types of treatments for psoriasis:

Topical treatment

It is the use of medicines such as creams and ointments that are applied to the skin.

Systemic treatments

They are medicines in the form of pills or injections that are indicated for moderate to severe psoriasis or with psoriatic arthritis.

Phototherapy

It is a treatment based on the exposure of the skin to ultraviolet light carried out under medical supervision.

Biological treatments

We are talking about injectable drugs used in the case of moderate to severe psoriasis.

What are the recommendations for dealing with psoriasis?

In addition to emotional care and healthy habits, there is unfortunately not much to prevent psoriasis. Anyone can develop the disease. As it is a problem that patients have to deal with throughout their lives, it is worth checking some good practices to reduce the risks of crises:

  • Avoid factors that can worsen the condition or trigger the onset of symptoms: alcohol, smoking, corticosteroid and anti-inflammatory drugs, very cold weather, skin trauma, stress and little sunlight.
  • Try to have a balanced and healthy diet, consuming foods that help control injuries, such as salmon, tuna, olive oil, nuts, strawberries. Consult your doctor to have access to all recommendations;
  • Talk to your doctor to understand how exposure to sunlight can help ease the symptoms of the disease;
  • Avoid situations or people that can cause stress, a risk factor for the onset of psoriasis attacks. It is important to find ways to deal with anxiety and stress, such as meditation , yoga, reading, and recurring sports;
  • Do not exclude yourself from the world. It is very common for people with psoriasis to be ashamed of living socially, which can be harmful to mental health. The person feels isolated and judged. The ideal is to seek psychological help to deal with the disease.
  • Where to find a psychologist?
  • Social withdrawal and problems related to self-esteem can be consequences of psoriasis. We must emphasize that it is not uncommon for people with the disease to develop depression. In order for this not to happen, she needs to receive support from friends and family and feel welcomed.
  • However, only those close to you may not be enough to help those who suffer from the disease. In many cases, it is necessary to seek help from a specialized professional, that is, a psychologist.
  • Since psoriasis is an apparent skin disease, many people may even feel ashamed of going to the psychologist’s office. In such cases, it is important to know that there is a possibility to make consultations online. The moment we are living, in quarantine due to the coronavirus pandemic, this type of assistance is even more necessary.
  • The important thing is not to fail to consult a professional who is able to help in coping with the disease and who is attentive to mental health. If you are suffering from psoriasis or know someone who needs psychological help, count on Vittude.

 

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