What is psoriasis? Causes, types, symptoms, stages
Psoriasis is a chronic non-infectious disease of the skin, accompanied by the appearance of reddish-pink skin rashes and flakes.
The term psoriasis originated from the Greek word ‘psoriasis’ which is translates as prurigo or itchy skin. It is these symptoms that most clearly characterize this non-infectious dermatological problem. In the 1980s, 2-4% of the world's population suffered from it, nowadays 10-15% of the world's population suffers from it and 20-30% of it suffers from allergic problems. The disease can occur at any age but in 70% of cases it appears at the age of 15-25. That is why psoriasis is called the disease of the youth.
With this dermatosis the division of skin cells occurs almost thirty times faster. Since they do not have time to fully ripen, intercellular contacts are lost. This leads to the formation of characteristic scales. The immune system of the organism is also involved in the pathological process: the protective elements are directed against their own cells, which causes chronic inflammation in the lesion. Let's describe the question of what psoriasis is and how to treat it in detail.
Types of psoriasis
There are a lot of classifications of psoriasis based on the severity of the condition, the nature of the rash, the localization of the lesion, etc. Most often the following types of the disease are met:
- Plaque (vulgar) constitutes the most part of all types of psoriasis. It is characterized by the appearance of traditional plaques covered with white-gray scales.
- Guttate psoriasis takes the second place in prevalence and is diagnosed in every tenth patient. In this case there are numerous and fairly small rashes with scales on the entire surface of the body.
- The postular variant is characterized by the formation of postules.
- In case of the palmoplantar psoriasis, the elements are located in the corresponding areas of the skin.
- The exudative variant is distinguished by the fact that the scales are impregnated with a yellowish liquid that seeps out of the body. Due to this they look stuck together and change their color.
- Erythrodermia is a serious form of the disease as in case of this almost the entire surface of the skin is affected and systemic reactions are triggered (temperature, increase in lymph nodes size, blood disorder).
- Psoriatic arthritis is characterized by joint damage.
Causes of psoriasis
Experts think that the whole culprit is the immune system. This, they say, provokes inflammation and flaking of the skin. It is also possible that the cooling of the climate, its dryness, stresses, infections, skin roughness, some drugs (used at high blood pressure, or inherent in certain mental illnesses), smoking (especially in case of women), acute infectious and respiratory diseases (tonsillitis, influenza, etc.), stress, alcohol, trauma, irritation and inflammation of the skin, poor ecology, endocrine system disorders ... etc. are other causes of psoriasis. Only one thing relieves us that no one knows where psoriasis exactly comes from. The theory states that psoriasis is hereditary. But in which genome it is encoded is a secret for scientists. You need to be satisfied that psoriasis is not contagious.
Symptoms of the disease
The disease can be in mild form. It can have medium or strong severity with a drying skin of a silvery hue. By the way, in case of severe psoriasis, itching and painful sensations arise. Skin plaques increase in size. In the same way the damaged areas increase in size and the body, which experiences all this, weakens. By the way, in case of some people the swelling of joints is added to psoriasis. And the joints ache and react to the combination of "psoriatic arthritis” at least because nails react to it too. And all these "reactions" can be accentuated or extinguished and then reappear and disappear again. Either a new outbreak of the disease begins or the “employees” of the "psoriasis" station strike again. And in this case it is necessary to apply for treatment.
In addition to the skin, psoriasis affects nails, hair, as well as joints and internal organs. Changes on the nail plate start from the base and are characterized by subungual hyperkeratosis. In the future, the surface acquires striation and depressions are formed on it. Also, scaly lichen is characterized by skin itching. As a result, rashes, surface cracks and a tendency to bleeding are formed. In places of trauma, pathogenic microbes can multiply leading to secondary infection and the development of dermatitis.
Stages of psoriasis
In case of chronic pathology, a clear identification of staging is extremely necessary. In this way it is very easy to assess the course of the disease, to determine its sensitivity to a particular method of treatment and to choose further tactics for managing patients with psoriasis.
There are such stages of psoriatic skin lesions:
- Progressive stage of psoriasis
- Stationary stage of psoriasis
- Regressive stage of psoriasis
The progressive stage of psoriasis
Clinical recognition of the progression of the process can be based on such characteristics:
- The appearance of new papules that are characteristic for psoriasis,
- The fusion of papular elements together with the formation of peculiar conglomerates (plaques) of whitish color against the background of reddened skin
- Formation of newly formed psoriatic elements of variegated peeling on the surface in the form of multiple small scales
The stationary stage of psoriasis
It is the indicator of reducing inflammatory skin changes. These data indicate the effectiveness of the treatment and the need to change it to less aggressive methods. The clinical features of the stationary stage of psoriasis are:
- Cessation of the appearance of new red papules
- Cessation of the size of existing plaques
- No rim of redness around the flaking elements
The regressive stage of psoriasis
It is, perhaps, the most pleasant moment in the treatment of psoriasis both for the patients themselves and for the treating doctors. It says that the exacerbation of the disease is practically defeated and the main task for the near future will be to prevent its next exacerbations. The signs of the regressing stage of psoriasis are:
- Small light folds and radial lines of skin around psoriatic plaques
- Gradual reduction of peeling until its complete disappearance
- Formation of whitish hypopigmented or dark hyperpigmented spots in place of plaques
In the basis of the staging of psoriasis is the activity of the inflammatory process. The regularity of clinical manifestations is that the more expressive the reddening of the skin, the more active it is.
The quality of life of patients with psoriasis
Along with other chronic diseases, psoriasis can significantly worsen the quality of life of patients who can experience both physical and psychological discomfort. There are often difficulties with labor and social adaptation. So, expressive itching sometimes prevents normal rest and plaques on the hands can limit working capacity. Especially it is difficult to carry scaly rashes on the scalp. This is due to the fact that these plaques cause rejection in some people as a result of which patients become unsociable and even social phobia may arise. Stress due to the dissatisfaction with one's own appearance, constant pain or itching and immune disorders quite often lead to the development of mental abnormalities (increased anxiety, depression, social isolation). Only a quarter of patients with psoriasis do not experience psychological discomfort; in case of other patients this disease is a serious obstacle to a normal life. Among the symptoms of psoriasis which worsen the quality of life, the first place is occupied by the itching of the skin and in the second position joint pain with psoriatic arthritis is.
Knowing the types, symptoms and stages of psoriasis is important to your health. In St. Mary's Medical Center you can consult with our best specialists, determine the stage of the disease and begin effective treatment. Our specialists assure you that you will get psoriasis treatment for 99%, get rid of this unpleasant disease, be absolutely healthy and enjoy the life you deserve. Our professional and caring staff is waiting for you with pleasure.