Did you know that Psoriasis is actually an immune-mediated disease? This skin condition causes red, scaly patches on the skin and can cause the discomfort in the form of itching and burning. Psoriasis can also be related to health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
There are five types of psoriasis:
- Plaque Psoriasis | The most common form of this condition appears as raised, red patches with a build-up of dead skin cells on top. These plaques affect the knees, elbows and lower back. Side effects include itchiness and pain.
- Guttate | These small lesions, similar to a dot in shape, usually appear during one’s youth and can be triggered by a step infection.
- Inverse | You will find this type of psoriasis under the arm, behind the knee and in other body folds. It appears smooth and shiny and can be combined with another type of psoriasis.
- Pustular | This type of psoriasis is recognizable by white pus pockets surrounded by red skin. The pus is comprised of white blood cells, but this is not an infection or contagious. You will usually find this form of psoriasis on the hands or feet.
- Erythrodermic | The rarest form of psoriasis is the worst. This skin condition results in a fiery redness that can take over most of the body causing severe pain and itching. Those suffering from this condition usually suffer from an unstable form of plaque psoriasis.
About 30% of patients diagnosed with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis. This condition can cause swelling, stiffness and pain in the joints. If undiagnosed, permanent joint damage can occur. Common symptoms to look for include:
- Pain & swelling over the tendons
- Swollen fingers
- Stiffness, pain and swelling in the joints
- Reduced range of motion
- Nail changes
Treatment options for these conditions have advanced over the years. What works for one patient, does not always work for the next. It is important to work with your dermatologist to find the right treatment option for your skin condition.
Here are a few treatment options available:
- Biologic Drugs | Prescribed for moderate to severe psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis that has not responded to other treatments. Biologics are given by injection or IV infusions.
- Systemic | Taken orally or injected into the body, these prescription drugs are prescribed for moderate to severe psoriasis.
- New Oral Treatments | Taken by mouth, this treatment inhibits specific molecules associated with inflammation.
- Topical Treatments | Usually the first recommended treatment, topical treatments can be prescribed or picked up over the counter. Topicals are applied to the skin in the form of a cream or ointment.
- Light Therapy | This treatment is usually administered in a physician’s office and involves exposing the skin to ultraviolet light on a regular basis.
In an effort to bring recognition to this skin condition, August is National Psoriasis Awareness Month. If you or someone you know is suffering from psoriasis, please schedule an appointment with Coastal Skin Surgery & Dermatology. All of our providers are board-certified and we are here for all of your skin care needs.