It is common for people not to know all the existing diseases, not least because there are many. But there are some diseases that affect only a group of people, in addition to having no cure. They are known as chronic or autoimmune and can be quite uncomfortable, as is the case with psoriasis.
This is a skin disease characterized by the appearance of wounds and injuries, making the individual feel pain and discomfort. What most people don’t know is that there are treatments that help to improve the quality of life of those who suffer from the problem.
Thinking about it, we created this post to explain a little more about what psoriasis is, its symptoms and treatments. Check out!
What is psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a skin disease considered common. It is characterized by plaques with scaly and reddish lesions . These plaques can appear on different parts of the body, such as knees, elbows, hands, feet, nails, genital regions and hair, which is the area most affected.
This is an autoimmune disease (when the body attacks itself) or chronic , which can be recurrent and not contagious. The severity of psoriasis can vary: it can be mild and easily treatable, or severe, leading to physical disability, also affecting the joints.
What are the types of psoriasis?
There are several types of psoriasis, each with its different ways of presenting and treating. Below, we explain a little of the most common ones.
Psoriasis vulgaris or plaque
This is the most common form of the disease. It affects the scalp, knees and elbows. It is characterized by lesions of varying sizes, reddish and delimited, with silvery or whitish dry scales. In some cases, it can itch and reach other regions of the body. In the most severe cases, it can crack and bleed.
This type affects the most humid parts of the body such as armpits, groin, below the breasts and areas around the genitals. It appears in the form of red, inflamed spots. When there is excessive sweating or in obese people, this type of psoriasis can get worse.
Guttate psoriasis is considered the most common among children and adolescents. It is usually triggered by bacterial inflammation and is characterized by small lesions covered by a thin layer of “scales”. They usually appear on the arm, legs, scalp and trunk.
This type manifests itself in nails and fingers and toes. It is characterized by abnormal growth, causing scaling, thickening, yellow spots or punctate depressions. In more severe cases, the nail can peel off the meat.
This is a rare type of psoriasis that can appear on the entire body or on smaller parts such as feet and hands. It is characterized by pus blisters that appear shortly after the skin becomes red. The blisters dry out within two or three days, but they can reappear for several days or weeks. They can cause fatigue, chills, fever and severe itching.
What are the causes?
The exact cause for psoriasis is not known. It is believed that a human cell responsible for looking for foreign elements throughout the body (viruses and bacteria) and fighting them, attacks healthy skin cells when a person has psoriasis. This triggers several consequences and, in the end, generates red sores and lesions in the dermis.
As we explained, psoriasis is a chronic and autoimmune disease, so it can appear several times throughout the year. Below, we list some factors that can trigger it:
- climatic variations;
- viral and bacterial infections;
- skin lesions such as wounds and bruises;
- excessive alcohol consumption;
Some risk factors such as family history, HIV / AIDS, obesity and smoking can also influence the frequency with which the disease manifests itself.
What are the symptoms of psoriasis?
The symptoms of psoriasis can depend on the type of disease and vary from person to person. The most common are:
- small red spots;
- reddish lesions covered with a white / silvery and scaly layer;
- crumbling, thick, detached, yellowish nails with holes in the surface;
- stiff and painful joints;
- dry and bleeding skin;
- swelling in the joints;
- flaking and plaques on the elbows, knees and scalp.
It is common for people with psoriasis to have one or more symptoms. The type of the disease can also change each time it starts.
How does the diagnosis happen?
The diagnosis of psoriasis is made by a dermatologist. During the consultation, the patient will report symptoms and family history, and from there, the doctor will perform a physical examination. In this exam, the specialist analyzes aspects of the skin , nails and scalp. Depending on the case, he may still request a biopsy of the affected dermis to confirm suspicions of the disease.
How does the treatment work?
Because it is a chronic and autoimmune disease, psoriasis has no cure, but treatment. There are several types of treatments, depending on the level and variety of the disease, but all have practically the same objectives: to reduce inflammation and the appearance of plaques on the skin and normalize the appearance of the dermis.
Treatments for psoriasis can be topical (ointments and creams), phototherapy and systemic. Only the doctor can indicate the best treatment for each patient.
Among topical medications are corticosteroids and remedies that help to relieve symptoms.
Systemic drugs can be oral, intramuscular, subcutaneous or intravenous. They are indicated for disease control. These remedies can be immunosuppressants (decrease the body’s ability to attack themselves) or biological drugs (produced to treat autoimmune diseases).
Phototherapy can also be used to treat psoriasis. It works through exposure to ultraviolet A or ultraviolet light B.
Mild cases of psoriasis can be treated with topical medications. More severe cases, however, require more aggressive treatments such as systemic or phototherapy.
When left untreated, psoriasis can develop complications, making control and treatment more difficult. So, see a dermatologist as soon as you notice the symptoms.
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