Psoriasis: Symptoms, Types and Triggers
Psoriasis is a commonly found skin condition that is known for speeding up the life cycle of our skin cells. It results in cells building up rapidly on the skin surface. The extra skin cells generated by psoriasis turn into scales and red patches on the skin. These patches are itchy and sometimes painful.
Psoriasis is a chronic disease that appears and disappears. The main target of the treatment is to stop quick growth of the skin cells.
There is no cure available for psoriasis by now but the symptoms can be managed. Lifestyle changes such as moisturizing regularly, quitting smoking and managing stress, are found to be helpful.
Psoriasis signs and symptoms vary from individual to individual. Commonly found signs and symptoms are:
- Red patches on the skin at times covered with silvery scales
- Small spots with scaling (usually found in children)
- Dry skin with cracks that bleed in some cases
- Itching, soreness, burning
- Thick ridged nails
- Swollen, stiff joints
- Patches in Psoriasis also vary. They range from a few spots with dandruff-like scaling to large red patches.
Psoriasis is cyclic in most instances i.e. it appears for some time (a few weeks to months) and then subdues. It has been found to go into complete remission in certain cases.
Types of Psoriasis
There are various types of psoriasis. For example:
It is the most commonly found form of the disorder. Plaque psoriasis results in dry, raised, red skin plaques covered with silvery scales. The plaques are sometimes itchy or painful and a few or many plaques can appear on the skin. They can appear anywhere on our body, including genitals and soft tissue inside our mouth.
Psoriasis can hit our fingernails and toenails, causing discoloration of nails abnormal growth. Psoriatic nails at times are loosened and get separated from the nail bed.
This type is usually found in young adults and children. It is often triggered by some bacterial infection e.g. strep throat. It is identified by small scaling lesions on trunk, arms, legs, and scalp. The lesions, in this case, are shaped like a water drop.
The lesions in such cases are covered by finer scales and are usually not as thick as typical plaques. Plaques can appear in a single outbreak that subsides on its own, though one may have repeated episodes of plaque appearance.
Primarily affected areas in this type are the armpits, groin region, the skin under the breasts and area around the genitals. It causes smooth patches of red, inflamed skin. The condition worsens with friction and sweating. This type of psoriasis is at times triggered by Fungal infection.
This is an uncommon form of psoriasis that can occur in widespread patches. In certain cases, it affects smaller areas on our hands, feet and/or fingertips.
It usually develops quickly. Blisters filled with pus appear a few hours after the skin becomes red and tender. The blisters may appear and disappear frequently. This type is psoriasis is usually accompanied by severe itching fever, chills, and diarrhea.
This is the least common type of psoriasis. It can cover our entire body with a red scaling rash with intense itch and burning sensation.
Several factors may trigger psoriasis. These factors include Infections, injury to the skin, bug bite, and/or severe sunburn.Stress, smoking, heavy alcohol consumption and vitamin D deficiency are also found to be the triggering factor of the disorder. Certain medications are believed to play a role in triggering psoriasis, for example, anti-malarial drugs and lithium used for treating bipolar disorder.
Though Psoriasis cannot be cured yet there are a number of steps that one can take to manage the symptoms of the disease.
Supplementing the diet
Dietary supplements can help ease psoriasis symptoms. Fish oil, vitamin D, and evening primrose oil have been found to help ease the symptoms related to psoriasis.
Skin dryness is one of the factors that worsen the symptoms. humidifying the air at home or in the office can help. it is better to keep skin moisturized to control the intensity of the disease.
Avoid Soaps and Fragrance
Most soaps use chemicals to clean the skin that makes it dry. the fragrance used in soaps can also play a role in inflaming psoriasis. use fragrance-free and soap-free facial and body wash to ease the symptoms.
Diet can play a role in managing psoriasis. avoiding red meat, saturated fat, refined sugar, and alcohol can help reduce flare-ups.
Soaking the body
Hot water is usually an irritant but lukewarm water with Epsom salts, mineral oils or olive oil can help soothe the itch related with the disease. moisturizing immediately after bath is also helpful.
Any chronic disease can be a source of stress. psoriasis is no different. stress, in turn, can worsen the symptoms. reducing stress through yoga and or meditation can be helpful.
Alcohol triggers psoriasis in many people. avoiding alcohol can not only prevent onset but can also help manage symptoms.
Turmeric has been found helpful in minimizing psoriasis-related flare-ups. turmeric supplements are easily available can be used after consultation with a doctor.
Smoking increases your risk of psoriasis. avoid tobacco.