According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, psoriasis vulgaris or common skin psoriasis symptoms can be found in around 3% of the population of the United States. Most cases of psoriasis occur in cycles. At times there can be virtually no signs and symptoms visible whereas at others an event such as an illness or wound can trigger an attack.
Psoriasis is simply the visible result on the skin when the normal process of skin cell production is greatly speeded up. Normally the body takes between 21 and 28 days to renew skin cells. Research suggests that if a person is suffering from illness or stress the immune system can react by overproducing new skin cells, or t-cells, in the same way that it would if it were dealing with the repair of lesions to the skin.
These skin cells then collect at the surface of the skin where they form well defined, raised red patches, usually with a fine covering of silvery scales. These silvery scales are actually the dead skin cells waiting to flake off. One of the most noticeable symptoms of the disease is the redness of the affected area. This is result of the increased number of blood vessels required by the body to support the increased skin cell production.
There are several different types of psoriasis.
Normally people only suffer from one type of psoriasis at a time but sometimes two different forms can be present.
The Most Common Psoriasis Symptoms
The most common type of psoriasis is plaque psoriasis which accounts for about 80% of cases. It’s symptoms are dry, red areas of raised skin, known as plaques, covered in silvery scales. Although they can appear on any part of the body they are most commonly found on the elbows, knees, scalp and lower back. The plaques are usually itchy, sore or sometimes both. In more severe cases they can crack and bleed.
Guttate psoriasis can occur as a result of a streptococcal throat infection and is most commonly found in the young. It’s symptoms appear as small droplet shaped sores on the patients chest, arms, legs and scalp. Although it can disappear completely there is a chance that it will develop into plaque psoriasis.
Psoriasis can also develop on your nails. Nail psoriasis causes your nails to become discolored and develop tiny pits. Often your nails can become lose and fall off or even crumble.
Scalp psoriasis can occur over part or all of your scalp and is similar in appearance to plaque psoriasis. Psoriasis of the scalp can be itchy or not at all and in severe cases can result in temporary hair loss.
Inverse psoriasis affects the folds of the skin such as armpits, the backs of the legs and the groin area. It causes large red, smooth patches and is made worse by friction or sweating, often aggravated by hot weather.
Pustular Psoriasis Symptoms
Pustular psoriasis is a less common form of psoriasis which causes pus filled blisters or pustules to appear. Different types of pustular psoriasis affect different parts of the body. Generalized pustular psoriasis can affect any part or all of the body. The pustules appear in cycles every few days or weeks. At the beginning of these cycles the sufferer can experience fever, chills and fatigue. The pustules dry and peel off in a few days leaving a shiny smooth red mark on the skin.
Acropustulosis causes pustules to appear on the fingers and toes which then burst and leave red areas which may become scaly or ooze. Palmolplantar pustular psoriasis again develops in cycles of a few days or weeks and affects the palms and soles of your feet. The pustules develop into brown, circular scaly spots which peel off when dry.
Erythrodermic psoriasis is one of the most serious skin conditions which can affect the skin over the whole of your body and is characterized by intense itching and burning which is very distressng.
Psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis where the usual painful swelling of the joints is associated with the usual symptoms of plaque psoriaisis.
Owing to the wide range of psoriasis symptoms the first stage in obtaining the correct psoriasis treatment should be a diagnosis by your doctor.
The most common medications prescribed for sufferers are in the form of emollient creams which moisturize and re-hydrate the skin. Steroids in both cream and oral form in the appropriate strength are also commonly used. Light therapy as well as dietary and other lifestyle changes can all be beneficial in the control of psoriasis symptoms, enabling the majority of sufferers to reduce the worst effects of their condition.
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