Scaly skin is not only uncomfortably itchy and dry. It can also affect your self-esteem and lead to depression.
Psoriasis causes white blood cells to attack healthy skin cells, triggering rapid production of dermal tissue on the skin's surface.
How do you know if you are one of the millions affected by psoriasis?
Symptoms Can Be Constant or Cyclical and Vary According to the Type of Psoriasis
Plaque psoriasis is the most common type of psoriasis and represents approximately 80 percent of cases. Symptoms include red, inflamed, flaky, and itchy patches of skin throughout the body.
As the second most common type of psoriasis, this condition is especially prevalent amongst children. Rather than patches of skin plaque, patients experience small, raised, red dots.
While other types of psoriasis affect virtually every part of the body, this type specifically causes red lesions in the folds of the skin, such as the groin and armpits.
This particularly rare type presents as white, pus-filled boils.
Erythrodermic PsoriasisThis is the rarest, most severe type of psoriasis. As it can spread over large areas and affect the body's chemistry, it can be life-threatening.
Stress and Anxiety Can Worsen Your Symptoms
Stress and anxiety have been linked to psoriasis flare-ups. In fact, managing a flare-up can often lead to more stress, creating a vicious cycle.
Although the actual cause of psoriasis is unknown, recent studies have uncovered potential contributing factors...
How Genetics and Immune Function Contribute to Psoriasis
Studies have found that one-third of those affected by psoriasis also have a family member with the disease.
Your immune system may exacerbate your condition. When the white blood cells which normally fight off infection mistakenly attack your healthy skin cells, this triggers symptoms.
The Disease Is More Common Than You Think
"In the United States, about 7.5 million people have psoriasis." American Academy of Dermatology
You Cannot Prevent Psoriasis, But You Can Fight Flare-Ups
A stressful lifestyle can trigger a bout of psoriasis. Try incorporating meditation, yoga, or other forms of relaxation into your daily routine.
Cutting alcohol out of your diet can minimize your flare-ups, in addition to offering other health benefits.
Sugary desserts, over-processed foods, and dairy products can cause inflammation and should be eaten in moderation.
A Doctor Can Diagnose You
Diagnosing psoriasis is simple and does not require blood tests. First, your doctor will conduct a medical evaluation, discuss your family history with you, and visually examine your skin.
If needed, your doctor may perform a biopsy. During the biopsy, he or she will remove a small piece of skin, examine it under a microscope, and rule out similar diseases such as eczema. To ensure your comfort, many doctors provide anesthetic during a biopsy.
Although There is No Cure, Treatment Can Manage Your Symptoms
For mild to moderate cases, topical corticosteroids and moisturizers can help. Studies have found that they are approximately 35 percent effective at reducing symptoms and are a very low-risk option.
Oral and Injectable Medications
For moderate to severe psoriasis, a doctor may prescribe oral or injectable medication. The FDA has approved several such medications and your doctor can help you decide which is right for you.
Light therapy is an alternative to topical, oral, and injectable treatments. Using an ultraviolet or natural light to kill white blood cells, you can prevent further attacks on healthy skin cells. This treatment has a 50 to 90 percent effectiveness rate.
Your Doctor Can Guide You
Do not let psoriasis affect your life and self-image. Treatment is effective and can help you manage your symptoms, reduce discomfort, and improve your overall quality of life. Schedule a consultation with a doctor to explore your options.