What is Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a common skin disease in which life cycle of skin cells becomes fast. Normally, new cells take about a month to move from lowest skin layer to the outermost layer where they flake off.
In psoriasis, the entire life cycle of skin cells becomes fast and takes only 5 to10 days to reach the outermost layer. As a result, cells build up rapidly, forming thick silvery scales and itchy, dry, red patches that can be painful. These scaly patches are called psoriatic plaques.
It is an autoimmune disorder in which your own immune system works against your skin.
Psoriasis does not spread from contact. It is not contagious.
Cause of Psoriasis
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder which is related to a type of white blood cell called T lymphocytes or T calls.
T cells function is to detect and destroy virus, bacteria and other foreign substances in the body.
In psoriasis, T cells attack healthy skin cells by mistake which leads to an increased production of both healthy skin cells and T cell. And it becomes a vicious cycle. This leads to accumulation of dead skin cells and white blood cells on the skin which builds up in thick, scaly patches.
Symptoms of Psoriasis
The symptoms of psoriasis vary from person to person:
- Red patches on skin covered with silver scales.
- Small scaling spots (seen in children).
- Dry, cracked skin that may bleed.
- Blisters with pus.
- Fever in pustular psoriasis.
- Itching, burning, soreness.
- Discomfort & sleeplessness due to itching.
- Thickened, pitted and ridged nails.
- Swollen, painful, stiff joints.
- Low selfesteem and embarrassment because of one’s looks.
- Social isolation.
- Suicidal thoughts
Types of Psoriasis
- Plaque Psoriasis: This type is most common and is also known as psoriasis vulgaris. It may occur anywhere on the body.
- Nail Psoriasis: Almost 50% of psoriasis patients have psoriatic changes in their nails. Nails get pitted, there is yellow discoloration and nail plate crumbles.
- Scalp Psoriasis: It can lead to hair fall in spots. Bald patches are common.
- Guttate Psoriasis:This generally occurs in children and young adults. It follows strep throat infection. Small spots occur on the chest, arms and legs.
- Inverse Psoriasis: It affects skin in armpits, groin, genitals and under the breasts. It is more common in overweight people and becomes worse by friction and sweating.
- Pustular Psoriasis: This generally happens on palms & soles. In this red and white pus-filled blisters form. It causes severe itching, fever, weight loss and fatigue.
- Erythrodermic Psoriasis:It affects the entire body with a red peeling rash, intense itching and burning. This can be a life-threatening situation because the skin loses its defensive function; and patient gets affected with heat, fluid loss and harmful bacteria.