Psoriasis Symptoms – Discover & Realize Their Severity Before They Become Worse
Psoriasis is a chronic, non-contagious skin condition. It is caused by a number of factors, including genetics, environment, and the immune system. Psoriasis symptoms include the following skin ailments: redness, dryness, cracking, itching, scaly patches. If left untreated, psoriasis may develop into a potentially fatal condition, especially among children and elderly, so it is important to be aware of the symptoms and seek the appropriate treatment.
Certain genes in relation to the immune system are thought to be responsible for psoriasis, making it an inheritable trait. With this trait, white blood cells do not function properly and begin to attack healthy skin cells. The result is an overproduction of new skin cells which manifest as psoriasis. There are several different kinds of psoriasis: plaque, flexural, guttate, pustular, nail, and erythrodermic. The most common is plaque psoriasis, accounting for approximately 80-90% of outbreaks.
Plaque psoriasis appears on the surface of the skin as whitish, scaly plaques, or scabs. The plaques form as a result of overproduction of new skin cells in response to the white blood cell attacks. They most often appear on the elbows, knees, and scalp, and can occur as localized, singular lesions or may spread throughout the body. About 10-15% of patients also report joint inflammation, or psoriatic arthritis, in conjunction with these symptoms.
Flexural (or “inverse”) psoriasis usually forms in crevices or skin folds, particularly armpits, under breasts, and between the thigh and groin. These lesions are not scaly but rather are smooth, usually with pronounced inflammation as a result of the increased sweat and friction in those areas.
In contrast, guttate psoriasis and pustular psoriasis are smaller lesions that tend to form in clusters. Guttate psoriasis is similar to plaque psoriasis in texture but tends to cover larger areas of the body, like the trunk or limbs. Pustular psoriasis appears as red, pus-filled bumps, often seen on the hands and feet. Lastly, nail psoriasis forms under the finger or toenails and can manifest in a number of different ways, including discoloration of the nail, ridges in the nail, and excessive thickening of the skin under the nail, eventually causing it to come loose and detach.
Although it is a chronic, genetic condition, it may not emerge until triggered by an environmental factor. Often, it emerges in conjunction with another immunological illness (cold, infection, stress), or even as a response to cold weather, excessive smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, or prolonged injury to the skin. Medications can also trigger or aggravate the condition, most notably lithium (prescribed for bipolar disorder), beta blockers (prescribed for high blood pressure), and anti-malarial drugs.
If left untreated, the condition may develop into erythrodermic psoriasis, which is the spreading of psoriasis to all parts of the body, resulting in severe itching, swelling, and pain. It may develop suddenly, accompanied by chills, fever, and muscle weakness. This interferes with the body’s ability to regulate temperature and vital skin functions, making it potentially fatal. While most cases of psoriasis are mild and can be treated easily, it is important to be aware of these symptoms and to seek treatment as soon as possible to avoid complications.