Psoriasis is one of the most common skin conditions people have. With psoriasis, you will have redness and irritation of the skin, possibly with flaky patches of skin that are white or silver and called scales. While psoriasis is common, it can be very frustrating dealing with the dry, red, irritated, and often peeling or scaly skin. The following provides information regarding the causes and risk factors, symptoms, treatment options, and other information that will prove useful.
Causes of Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a very common skin condition with anyone able to get the condition. While any age can get it, it is more common among people aged 15 to 35. It is important to note that psoriasis is not contagious and you cannot catch it from someone or give it to someone else upon contact. However it is possible to pass it down between family members, from parent to child. There is no exact cause of psoriasis, though experts believe it to be from a poor immune system leading to destroying healthy cells needed for combatting inflammation. Psoriasis attacks may be triggered by a variety of situations, with the most common being bacterial or viral infections, dry air, dry skin, injury to the skin such as an insect bite, burn, or cut, medications like lithium or beta-blockers, stress, drinking alcohol, too little or too much sunlight. Anyone with a weakened immune system is at a higher risk of developing psoriasis, including patients with AIDS or auto-immune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis.
Symptoms of Psoriasis
The signs and symptoms of psoriasis may come on suddenly or be more gradually. You may also notice the signs of psoriasis come on suddenly, then disappear for a while, but come back when triggered by environmental factors, stress, or other factors. Common signs and symptoms of psoriasis include flake, red, and itchy patches of skin, dry areas of skin on your elbows, knees, or middle of your body, raised and thick patches of skin, genital lesions, joint pain or joint aches, changes in the color or density of your nails, or severe dandruff on your scalp.
Diagnosing and Treating Psoriasis
A simple physical examination by a doctor or medical practitioner is usually enough to diagnose psoriasis. They may also perform a skin biopsy to rule out other conditions or causes of the red skin patches. X-rays are only done if you are also experiencing joint warmth or pain. Treatment options for psoriasis include applying a cream, shampoo, skin lotion, or ointment to the affected areas, getting a pill or injection that will affect your body’s immune response, or getting laser treatments, also called phototherapy.