Psoriasis - Types, Symptom, Treatment And Home Remedies
Last Updated: Mar 14, 2022
What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is the condition of the skin where the skin cells start to multiply at abnormal levels. Usually, cell regeneration occurs and balances with the dead skin cells. Since the skin cells start to develop abnormally, they rise to the top of your skin and die out leaving behind a red plaque covered with white scales. They typically occur on the knees, elbows and sometimes in your scalp. There are many reasons attributed to why skin cells behave abnormally. The common reason is that they are linked to the way your immune system performs.
This illness is characterized by over-multiplication of skin cells up to 10 times faster than normal growth. As dead underlying cells reach the skin’s surface, their voluminous accumulation causes raised, red plaques that gets covered with white scales. This disease typically happens on the elbows, knees and scalp. Psoriasis can also affect the palms, torso and soles of the feet. Psoriasis, can also at time be found associated with psoriatic arthritis, which leads to swelling and pain in the joints. It is estimated that in India there is 10 to 30 per cent of people who have psoriasis also are sufferers of psoriatic arthritis.
What are the different types of psoriasis?
Psoriasis can happen for several reasons ranging from trauma, emotional stress to streptococcal infection. A recent study of this disease has indicated that some abnormality in the immune system is the factor that triggers this disease. There are five different types of psoriasis:
- Plaque psoriasis: It is a type of psoriasis which gives red, raised patches on the skin. These are covered by silvery dead skin cells.
- Guttate psoriasis: It causes small red spots on the skin. This occurs after the patient has gone ill.
- Inverse psoriasis: This type of psoriasis usually occurs in the skin folds. It causes sore and red patches of the skin.
- Pustular psoriasis: This type of psoriasis causes pus-filled bumps on the palms and soles. These are painful and itchy at the same time. It causes flu-type symptoms which include fever, dizziness, loss of appetite etc.
- Erythrodermic psoriasis: It resembles a severe sunburn as it makes the skin bright red. In this type of psoriasis which causes fast heart rate, itching and pain. It is to be mentioned that this is an emergency condition which should be consulted to a doctor.
What are the symptoms of psoriasis?
- Patches of inflamed and red skin that are covered by slivery, loose scales. They may be painful, itchy and can even crack and bleed at times.
- The fingernails and toenails may become pitted and change colour. They also may get began to crumble or get detached from the nail beds.
- Scales and patches or crust may form on the head of the psoriasis patients.
Can psoriasis spread by touch?
Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that is acquired mainly due to some reasons related to genetics or environmental factors. It is associated with the appearance of dry scaly patches on the skin but is not contagious.
It cannot be spread by touching the affected individual. It can spread to other parts within the body of the person suffering from this inflammatory skin condition.
Summary: Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder but not contagious. It cannot spread by touching the affected individual. However, the inflammatory reactions can spread to other body parts within the same individual.
What are the causes of psoriasis?
The exact cause of psoriasis is not known but there could be many other factors which can cause psoriasis.
- Immune system: Our immune system helps to keep us safe from infections of viruses and bacteria but if something goes wrong then our system starts working the opposite. Researchers believe that the immune system is one of the reasons for psoriasis. When our immune system is working overactive then it creates inflammation inside the body. A large number of healthy cells are produced. These excess cells then start coming on the surface of the skin very quickly. These piled up skin cells you see on your skin is psoriasis. It is red in colour and causes inflammation in the skin.
- Hormonal changes: During puberty or menopause, this issue can be seen on the skin. If you are a pregnant woman, then there are chances of you getting psoriasis. Once the delivery is done, you might again see it on the surface of the skin.
- Alcohol: People who drink regularly are high on risk, especially younger men. It is also to be mentioned that alcohol also makes treatment less effective.
- Medications: Some medications like Lithium (which treats bipolar disorder and mental illness), high blood pressure medicines ( including propranolol, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, quinidine), Antimalarial medicines (including chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, Plaquenil and quinacrine) may increase the chances for psoriasis more.
- HIV: Patients who are suffering from HIV are more prone to psoriasis. But, as soon as you start treatment for HIV, you will see yourself better.
- Sunlight: A little sunlight is good for health as it provides natural vitamin D to the body. But sometimes, sunburn can make the condition worse so, it is recommended to take proper care of your skin before going out in the sun.
Can Psoriasis go away on its own?
Psoriasis is a skin disease accompanied by symptoms of red, itchy, and patchy skin. In most cases, it needs to undergo treatment while some cases may be associated with spontaneous remission. The flare-up in such skin conditions may disappear or undergo healing on its own and without any treatment.
Probably the spontaneous remission is a result of the immune system which may stop attacking the skin, making the symptoms fade away. Even after getting treated there are chances of reoccurrence.
What is the main cause of psoriasis?
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease. The exact cause of the occurrence is still under research. However, the two main causes for the skin disorder include:
- Genetic predisposition: Psoriasis is not inherited directly but shows genetic predisposition. It has been found to affect different individuals in the same family.
- Environmental factors: In some cases, environmental factors in combination with genetic defects are responsible for causing psoriasis in an individual. These genetic defects affect the immune system adversely.
- Beta-blockers: medicines like beta-blockers are also linked with psoriasis in certain cases.
Summary: Psoriasis, being an autoimmune disease, has no exact cause for its occurrence. But the related causes may include genetic predisposition, environmental factors, medicines like beta-blockers, etc.
How serious is psoriasis?
Psoriasis is accompanied by the formation of dry, scaly patches on the skin which are itchy too. They appear as red and thick depositions having a silvery appearance. These are caused due to defects of the immune system, hence can develop in any part of the body.
It affects elbows, knees, and scalp mainly and can occur in a number of places at the same time. In case of delayed treatment, the symptoms get worse and are accompanied by intense itching along with persistent pain.
Progressive inflammation is a characteristic feature of psoriasis, leading to complications such as psoriatic arthritis and diabetes. The condition leads to a decreased quality of life of the affected individual.
Summary: Psoriasis is related to progressive skin inflammation and is accompanied by thickening of a particular skin region by over-formation of new cells. These appear as red, dry, and scaly patches having itching or even painful sensations. Psoriatic arthritis and diabetes are also some related complications.
Where does Psoriasis usually start?
Psoriasis affects the whole body as it is an autoimmune disease. The red, dry, and thick patches on the skin usually start to form on elbows, knees, and scalp but gradually it spreads to the other body parts as well including soles of the feet, lower back region, legs, face, and palms.
Summary: Psoriasis, being an autoimmune disease, can affect the whole body. It mainly starts as thick, dry red patches on the scalp, elbows, and knees but is gradually followed by their formation on other body parts as well.
How to diagnose psoriasis?
Your doctor may examine that are you having psoriasis or if you have plaques on ears, nails, elbow, scalp, belly button and knees or not. If the doctor is still unclear, then he will take a small sample of your skin which is known as a biopsy. Later, it will be sent to a lab and the sample of your skin will be examined under the microscope. This will make it clear which type of psoriasis do you have or what other kinds of infection or disease you are suffering from.
Which is the best treatment for psoriasis?
Psoriasis cannot be cured but can be treated to get the symptoms controlled. Some of the important treatment ways include the following:
- Application of topical steroids: These are available as ointments, creams, gel, lotions, shampoo, and sprays. They should be used under the supervision of a dermatologist. Corticosteroids are the major component that effectively controls the symptoms and prevents flare-ups.
- Light therapy: This is used as a first-line treatment in cases of moderate or severe psoriasis. On exposing the red, itchy patches to a certain light, shrinkage or fading of the same takes place.
- Application of some other topical therapies: These include topical application of vitamin D analogs, salicylic acid, retinoids, calcineurin inhibitors, anthralin, and coal tar.
- Steroids shots: Steroid shots are given directly in the inflamed patches of skin. These are preferred in cases of stubborn inflammatory skin patches.
- Use suppressants: These include taking immunosuppressants like cyclosporine.
Summary: Psoriasis cannot be cured but the treatment is quite possible to manage the symptoms. Important treatment methods include the application of topical steroids, light therapy, immunosuppressants, etc.
Who would need treatment for psoriasis?
People who have been diagnosed with Psoriasis can be qualified for the treatment. It is always better to treat the symptoms of Psoriasis from the simplest means like topical creams and UV light therapy and go to advanced means. The aim of the treatment is to curb the skin cells from growing quickly and to reduce the inflammation. They also aim to reduce the scales to the maximum permissible limits.
Who is not eligible for the treatment?
Topical creams can be had by every individual. However, for advanced medications and procedures do consult with your doctor about the type of therapy you would prefer. Also, discuss with your doctor about your allergic symptoms and get the drugs and medications that are best suited for you. Some of the drugs used can be strong. Hence it is always better to consult your doctor before taking any medications on your own.
What to do when Psoriasis?
There are some steps that we can adopt to control and manage the condition of psoriasis. Those include:
- Topical therapy: Includes application of corticosteroids, retinoids, vitamin D analogs, salicylic acid, coal tar, and anthralin to the affected areas of skin.
- Phototherapy: Includes exposure of the affected skin areas to natural or artificial light such as sunlight, UVB therapy, and excimer laser.
- Oral or injectable medications: Includes administration of steroids, retinoids, cyclosporine, methotrexate, biologics, and medications such as tabloid and hydroxyurea.
- Implementation of Stress reduction therapy
Can psoriasis cure permanently?
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease of the skin, hence no cure for it is known till now. The only treatment of this inflammatory skin condition is possible which controls and manages the symptoms and prevents flare-ups. It is a chronic and lifelong condition that may undergo remissions.
What are the side effects of psoriasis treatment?
It could depend on your skin type and the possibility of other medical condition you might have. Topical creams that smoothen your skin are mild and do not have any side effects. However, if you are going for advanced procedures, there are chances that it might cause some allergic reactions in you. However, most of the treatment for Psoriasis is considered safe and has been perfected for years. You can check with your doctor if you have concerns.
Post the treatment your skin can still have some leftover symptoms from the treatment. You might be advised to use a mild skin moisturizer and to keep your skin free of blemishes. Though sunlight can be good for your skin, overexposure can be harmful. Hence check with your doctor about the correct exposure and take care of your skin accordingly. Also, ensure that your keep skin clean of impurities by having regular cleaning with soap and water.
What can be mistaken for psoriasis?
Psoriasis shows symptoms related to inflammation of the skin. These include the appearance of thick and dry scaly patches on the same. Such symptoms resemble some other skin diseases which include the following:
- Seborrheic dermatitis
- Allergic contact dermatitis
- Keratosis pilaris
- Skin cancer
- Pityriasis rosea
Summary: Psoriasis shows inflammatory reactions on the skin, in the form of red, thick, and dry patches. These symptoms resemble some other skin infections including eczema, allergic contact dermatitis, hives, keratosis pilaris, etc.
What happens if psoriasis is left untreated?
Psoriasis is an inherited autoimmune skin disease that is characterized by inflammatory reactions on the skin of the elbows, knees, and scalp. The appearance of red, scaly, and itchy bumps on the elevated skin area is a common form of occurrence. The condition can be controlled with on-time treatment. In case it is left untreated, the symptoms accelerate and worsen further.
Intense itching along with persistent pain can occur in that condition. Due to progressive inflammation, certain complications such as psoriatic arthritis and diabetes can develop which lead to a decreased quality of life of the affected individual.
Summary: Psoriasis can be controlled if undergoing on-time treatment. But in case of delayed treatment or when it is left treated, the condition becomes persistent and intense. Itching and pain worsen in such conditions leading to decreased quality of life of the affected ones.
What organs can be affected by psoriasis?
- Digestive system
- Joints and bones
Summary: Psoriasis involves inflammatory reactions and mainly affects the skin. Besides this, it can have an invasive effect on the lungs, digestive system, heart, liver, and bones too. Due to the affected immune system, the whole body is adversely affected in this condition.
How to prevent Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a skin disease and one should consult with a dermatologist for its treatment. However, there are some home remedies that can prove to be effective for the prevention and management of the condition. Some of those remedies include:
- Regular application of moisturizing lotions on the skin so as to prevent the skin from drying.
- Proper care for the skin and scalp should be taken which includes the use of medicated shampoos on the scalp and regular bathing with medicated products.
- Exposure to cold as well as dry weather should be avoided, humidifiers may be used inside the house.
- Prescribed medicines should be preferred.
- Stress should be avoided.
How can I boost my immune system to fight psoriasis?
Psoriasis affects the immune system and makes it overactive as well as dysfunctional. Some of the ways to build up immunity to fight back against the disease include:
- Intake of adequate vitamin D sources: Vitamin D sources such as fish, dairy products, mushrooms, etc. should be taken in our daily diet so as to prevent its deficiency. Exposure to sunlight is also important for this.
- Including sources of antioxidants in our regular diet: Antioxidants such as selenium, vitamin C, and vitamin E are necessary to prevent conditions like psoriasis. Sources include sprouts, fresh fruits, seeds, and nuts.
- Avoiding gluten intake: Gluten-free diet should be preferred in case the affected individual is allergic to gluten.
- Limiting alcohol consumption: Alcohol can cause flare-ups in psoriasis, hence should be avoided.
- Consumption of fatty fishes: Omega-3-fatty acids is essential for the prevention of inflammatory reactions. Fishes are a rich source of the same.
- Regular exercises and physical activities: Exercises on a regular basis improve our blood circulation which is important for the proper functioning of the immune system.
Summary: Psoriasis occurs due to malfunctioning of the immune system, hence it is important to strengthen the same to prevent risks of the disease. Adequate intake of vitamin D, antioxidants, omega-3-fatty acids, etc. are essential to boost our immunity.
How do you stop psoriasis from spreading?
Prevention of psoriasis is not possible since it is an autoimmune disease. However, its flare-ups can be prevented and it is important to keep the symptoms in control. Some of the ways that one adopt to avoid the flare-ups include:
- Using a humidifier.
- Avoiding any exposure to cold and dry weather.
- Use of over the counter moisturizers.
- Taking care of the scalp as well as skin.
- Avoiding medicines that can trigger psoriasis.
- Limiting alcohol intake.
- Stress reduction.
- A mild to moderate exposure to sunlight.
- Avoiding infections, cuts, or scrapes.
Summary: Psoriasis can undergo flare-ups in worse conditions. Hence, one should adopt the required steps to prevent the spread. Some of those include using a humidifier, use of prescribed moisturizers, avoiding exposure to cold and dry weather, etc.
How long does it take to recover?
The recovery period depends on your skin type and the nature of the treatment used. For some individuals, the results can be immediate, whereas for some individuals the effect can take some time. The doctor would initially check how well you are responding to the treatment and make some changes if the desired results are not got.
What is the cost of psoriasis treatment in India?
In India, the cost of the treatments depends on the type of clinic or medical centre you choose. The average price can start from INR 1000 and can go up depending on the kind of treatment. When choosing the medical centre, choose a clinic with a good reputation.
Is psoriasis curable?
Alternative treatments can include psoriasis treatment in homoeopathy. the usage of a special diet and dietary supplements plays a major role. Aloe Vera gel is known to have antioxidant properties. Hence you can consider using it. Also, fish oil is known to reduce the symptoms to an extent. You can also try using herbal creams for a brief period and look at the results after consulting with your doctor.
Should I go to urgent care for Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is associated with symptoms such as the presence of redness or rashes on the skin, itchy, scaly, and patchy skin with pain and discomfort. When we experience any such symptoms, we need to undergo consultation with a doctor as soon as possible, as ignorance in such cases may lead to severity of the symptoms or occurrence of flare-ups.
Although a complete cure has not been possible as far, the symptoms of psoriasis can be controlled or minimized to some extent. Early or immediate treatments are a way to prevent the severe symptoms of flare-ups and further serious complications.
What are the home remedies for psoriasis?
As a home remedy for this disease, applying a thick cream or lotion, then stop the moisture with an ointment like petroleum jelly or olive oil helps in alleviating the conditions of this illness. It’s because dry skin makes the itching and irritation become worse. However, using too thick a cream during the summer months because sweat mixed with cream often makes psoriasis worse. Another kitchen remedy for psoriasis is to wrap your skin with plastic or a bandage before going to bed and wash the areas gently with cold water in the morning.
What are the alternatives to the treatment?
Key Highlights about psoriasis treatment:
Relative Risk: Low
Side Effects: Low
Recovery Time: Medium
Price Range: RS. 1000 and above
Physical Exercises for the people suffering from Psoriasis:
Although the physical condition in case of psoriasis may not allow affected persons to go with their work-out schedule in an easy and comfortable way, some modifications to their work-out exercises and certain lifestyle changes may ease their struggle in doing the activities.
- Yoga may be preferred in case the feet are the affected region for flaring up of psoriatic lesions. Walking, running, biking or weight lifting exercise need to be avoided in such conditions.
- Exercising in the sun may also be a good option provided sunscreen has been applied on the skin to avoid any risk of sunburn.
- Cardio exercises should be implemented in one’s daily life as it assures fitness of heart and body during psoriasis. Swimming is also a better option.
- Overall it can be concluded that regular exercises in combination with a balanced diet rich in low fat low carbs, is considered as a regime for psoriatic flare-ups, under the supervision of a physician.
What to eat in Psoriasis?
A healthy diet is always important for maintaining healthier skin and fighting off the flare-ups related to any skin diseases. Some of the food habits that need to be preferred in the case of psoriasis to control the severity of symptoms are such as:
- Avoiding excessive alcohol intake.
- Incorporating anti-inflammatory foods in the diet such as fruits and vegetables including berries and green leafy vegetables.
- Sources of healthy fats like olive oil, seeds, and nuts.
- Intake of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Sources of antioxidants like cumin and ginger.
- Low carbohydrate and low-fat diets should be taken.
- A gluten-free diet is preferred.
What not to eat in Psoriasis?
As diet has an important role in maintaining healthier skin, it is always important for us to know about the food items which have a negative impact on the skin, especially in cases of skin diseases like psoriasis. Those foods are such as:
- High-carbs diet.
- High- fat diet.
- Food items high in sugar content.
- Red meat.
- Processed and junk foods.
- Dairy products.
- Gluten rich diet.
- Excessive Alcohol.
Are the results of the treatment permanent?
The treatment methods of psoriasis include topical applications of medicated creams, lotions, and shampoos, oral as well as injectable medications, phototherapy, coal tar, and certain lifestyle changes. The results of any of these treatment methods are effective in their ways and help in the control and management of the symptoms of psoriatic lesions or flare-ups.
However, a complete cure is not possible in such conditions of skin disease as there may be a chance of recurrence after remission. Hence the results of the treatment are not considered to be permanent.
Summary: Psoriasis is an autoimmune and chronic skin condition accompanied by inflammatory reactions on the skin. It is an incurable lifelong condition that can be controlled and managed by proper treatment under the supervision of a skin specialist. Being itchy and painful, it needs an on-time treatment as any delay in the same can lead to worsening of the condition or flare-ups.
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