Psoriasis is a long-term inflammatory skin disease that results from a problem with the body’s immune system and can affect many areas of the body. There are several types of psoriasis, but plaque psoriasis is the most common form of the disease affecting nearly 80% people with psoriasis.
Plaque psoriasis is an autoimmune disease. New skin cells nearly grow every month but new skin cells nearly grow every three to five days with plaque psoriasis. The buildup of the new cells is what creates the silvery-white patches of psoriasis. in which skin cells rapidly build up, forming scales and dry-itchy patches that flake off. It usually shows up as silvery, well-defined scaly patches on the skin. The patches are called plaques that can be itchy and painful. The plaques can appear almost anywhere on the body, but they typically affect the scalp, knees, elbows and lower back.
Unfortunately, currently this disease is not curable. But it is not contagious and cannot be spread by close contact or touch. There are many ways to manage the symptoms.
Plaque Psoriasis symptoms will come and go. Symptoms become worse during flare-ups and can last for several weeks or months. Symptoms become improving or disappearing during remission periods. This cycle tends to repeat itself. Some of common symptoms are listed below:
Raised and inflamed scaly patches on the skin. They’re usually red with a silvery-white scales (plaques).
The plaques commonly found on the scalp, elbows, knees and back.
The plaques are often itchy and in some cases painful.
Discolored or pitted or ridged nails
Swollen or stiff joints
Scientists and doctors do not know exact causes of plaque psoriasis, but they know that it’s an autoimmune disease. The following are the most possible causes of plaque psoriasis:
Family history (with approx 3% ratio)
Skin infections like strep throat
Vitamin D deficiency
Medications like antidepressants and high blood pressure
Family doctors or dermatologists may diagnose plaque psoriasis by the appearance of the skin. They may gather more information about patient’s medical condition by examining and knowing following things:
By doing the physical examination of all abnormal patches of skin, scalp and nails.
By knowing about the patient's symptoms & possible triggers.
By knowing about the medical & allergy history of the patient.
By knowing about psoriasis history of family members.
Skin Biopsy: Sometimes, a doctor will use a skin biopsy to confirm a diagnosis. Doctor or Lab will take a small sample of affected skin to examine under a microscope. This procedure can be helpful to find the exact type of psoriasis and to rule out other medical conditions.
Unfortunately, currently there isn’t a cure for plaque psoriasis. Depending on symptoms and the severity of plaque psoriasis, doctors may recommend a variety of medications, therapies and other treatment options that can help to successfully manage the symptoms of plaque psoriasis and make plaque psoriasis flare-ups easier to control.
Medications: Here are some of the medications that are prescribed by doctors for the treatment of the symptoms of plaque psoriasis.
Topical medicines: These medications are helpful to slow the growth of skin cells and to give relief from inflammation and itchiness. These medications are often prescribed when the psoriasis isn’t widespread and the patient has only a few plaques. These medications are directly applied on the affected skin areas as cream or ointment and used on the scalp as a shampoo.
Systemic medicines: These medications are helpful to calm the immune system and slow the growth of skin cells. These medications are prescribed when plaque psoriasis is severe. These medications are taken as a pill or a shot. But these medications may have some side effects like depression, liver problems or higher risk of skin cancer.
Biologic medicines: These medications are another kind of systemic drugs and helpful to affect a specific type of immune cells from causing inflammation. These medications are prescribed when plaque psoriasis is severe. These medications are taken as a shot through a vein in your arm. But these medications may have some side effects like weakening your body to fight against infections.
Light therapy: This therapy is often used because it’s a non pharmaceutical treatment and when the rash is more widespread. The affected skin area is exposed to controlled natural sunlight or artificial UV (ultraviolet) radiation to treat plaque psoriasis. Light therapy can be performed at a doctor's place or at home using a special lightbox.
Lifestyle management: Person should take the following steps to reduce symptoms as well as risks related to plaque psoriasis:
Take your prescribed medications regularly.
Take vitamin and mineral supplements to control skin infections.
Expose the affected skin area to controlled natural sunlight.
Eliminate all the harsh soaps, shampoos, body wash and hand washing liquids.
Take lukewarm showers while avoiding hot water showers during winters.
Do not scrub the affected skin area with sponge while taking a bath or shower.
Moisturize the skin using gentle body lotions or moisturizers or a thick hypoallergenic emollient within 5 minutes of bathing.
Avoid alcohol and smoking.
Avoid stress wherever possible.
Get enough sleep.
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