Psoriatic Diseases

Psoriatic diseases are autoimmune diseases that affect the skin. There are several types of psoriasis with varying degrees of symptoms. For some, psoriasis is an annoyance, and for others it is disabling. Psoriasis is a chronic condition most often treated with topical cortisone creams.

  1. Cause

    • Psoriasis results when the immune system attacks healthy skin cells. This causes the skin cells to reproduce more rapidly than they should. Normally, new skin cells take about 28 days to reach the surface of the skin, but psoriasis causes new skin cells to reach the surface in about five days. Thus, too many skin cells accumulate on the skin's surface, forming lesions and scales.

    Plaque Psoriasis

    • According to the Mayo Clinic, plaque psoriasis is the most common type. It manifests as skin lesions, also called plaques. These lesions usually appear as raised patches of dry, red skin that have silver-colored scales on top. They may be itchy or painful. These lesions can occur anywhere, including the inside of the mouth and the genital area. The severity of the condition varies from person to person and may include just a few lesions or numerous lesions. An individual with a severe case of plaque psoriasis may have skin that cracks and bleeds around the joints.

    Scalp and Nail Psoriasis

    • Scalp psoriasis causes itchy patches of skin to form on the scalp. These patches will be red with scales on top that are white or silver in color. Nail psoriasis affects the fingernails and toenails. This condition can cause pitting, discoloration and nail malformations. Affected nails can detach from the or nail bed (a process called onycholysis) and even disintegrate.

    Guttate Psoriasis

    • Guttate psoriasis is usually caused by some type of bacterial infection. Sometimes strep throat is the culprit. Usually, guttate psoriasis affects individuals under the age of 30. Guttate psoriasis is characterized by sores that appear on the scalp, legs, arms and trunk area. The small sores are typically shaped like water droplets and have a thin scale on top of them. Guttate psoriasis may occur only once, or it may recur. Individuals who have continual respiratory infections are more likely to experience guttate psoriasis recurrences.

    Inverse Psoriasis

    • This type is most commonly seen on individuals who are overweight. It usually affects areas of skin under the armpits or breasts. It may also affect the skin in the groin and genital areas. The skin in these areas become red and inflamed. This condition is usually aggravated by friction and sweat.

    Psoriatic Arthritis

    • This type of psoriasis accompanies arthritis. The skin may be scaly and inflamed. Also, the nails may become discolored and pitted. The affected joints will swell and ache and, in severe cases, the joints may be damaged permanently.

    Rare Types of Psoriatic Diseases

    • Pustular psoriasis is rare. In some cases, it may occur only on the fingertips, hands or feet. Others may experience generalized pustular psoriasis, which produces large areas of affected skin. First, the skin becomes tender and appear red. A few hours later, blisters filled with pus develop. The blisters usually dry out within a few days, but the blisters may recur regularly. Individuals with pustular psoriasis may also experience intense itching, fever, chills and fatigue.

      The rarest type of psoriasis is erythrodermic psoriasis. It can affect the entire body and produces a red, itchy rash that may peel. It is sometimes triggered by corticosteriod medications or a bad sunburn. It can also occur when another type of psoriasis is poorly treated.

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