So as it turns out, this is another one of those annoying, self esteem breakers. Yes the skin disease Psoriasis. You read that right it is a disease. A rather embarrassing skin disease that has been known to lead to frustration and in some cases deep depression. If you suffer from it don’t feel alone, you are just one of 80 million people world wide that suffer with the same skin disease. This makes it a rather common skin disease.
As you can imagine since Psoriasis comes from the Greek word “psora” which means “to itch”, the skin disease it is well known in living up to its name. As if itching is not bad enough it is sometimes rather painful too.
Views seem to differ in when Psoriasis may occur, yet the most common thought is that Psoriasis can happen at any age between 12 and 45. It is not prone to effect one sex more than another yet it does seem to be more common in adults than in children. Caucasians seem to be at a slightly higher risk too.
Ok, so what is it, well if you suffer from it, or know someone who does you need no introduction, but for those who are not as familiar with it, the most common form of Psoriasis (plaque Psoriasis) is when you find the skin red and inflamed with a silvery white scale on top. These scales gradually enlarge and increase in number. When the scales are scraped off a few bleeding points are visible.
Basically what happens is the skin regenerates too quickly. Skin rapidly accumulates at the effected site which causes the silvery white scales. But my next question was what causes that to happen? Well the blame seems to lie at the doorstep of the T-Cells making it an immune system disorder.
Ordinarily these T-cells are supposed to help protect the body from infection yet in the case of Psoriasis they cause inflammation and rapid production of skin cells. They seem to be trying to heal an injury, one that is not really there. It is still not known what triggers the T-cells to be released to the dermis yet it is known that a normal skin cell matures in 28-30 days but in the case of Psoriasis it can happen as quickly as 3-6 days.
This is not the only form of Psoriasis; there seem to be many variations. People generally only have one form of Psoriasis at a time yet they can change from one form to another. One form of Psoriasis may clear up and later another form will appear.
The other, some refer to it as the more severe form of Psoriasis, is Pustular Psoriasis. These are blisters that are not infectious yet are filled with pus. This pus consists of white blood cells. The skin around this area is red and tender. The blisters eventually turn brown and form a scaly crust.
Guttate Psoriasis derives from the Latin word meaning “drop” and they are small red individual spots that usually appear on the trunk and the limbs. There name is because they look like little tear drops. This form of Psoriasis is mostly commonly yet not solely linked with Streptococcal infection.
Inverse Psoriasis is found in the arm pits, under the breasts, and other skin folds around the genitals. This appears as shiny red areas with out the scales that are found with Plaque Psoriasis. It tends to be more common in over weight people as with skin folds and sweating the problem becomes much more irritated.
The general consensus seems to be that even though this disease is not contagious it does seem to be to a large degree hereditary. It is not guaranteed that it will develop from these genes that carry it but there does seem to be certain conditions that may bring it out. Skin damage due to the sun, alcohol, strep throat, stress and some medications (including pain killers and anti malarial medication) may be all that is required to trigger Psoriasis and bring it to the fore. Stress and emotional traumas are rather large contributors to Psoriasis.
It may affect anywhere yet it is most commonly found on the scalp, elbows, knees and lower back. The groin, the nails and the palms and soles of the feet are also affected areas. When the nails become affected they become pitted or discolured. The joints may also be affected and in such cases the Psoriasis is called Psoriatic Arthritis.
In the case of Psoriatic Arthritis the condition is characterized by stiff, tender and inflamed joints. There are five different forms of Psoriatic Arthritis. Generally it only affects a few fingers and toes yet in severe cases this can be rather debilitating to the point that the individual suffering cannot work as all his/her time is preoccupied in trying to alleviate the pain.
Because there is no known cure Psoriasis can be absolutely heart breaking to the person suffering with it. There are medications and therapies that are able to clear up the patches of Psoriasis and to help it go into a state of remission. Treatment varies due to the severity of the Psoriasis and what form of Psoriasis the individual is suffering from. Consulting ones doctor is imperative. It will most likely flare up again over ones life time yet you do not have to give up all hope as the positive thing is that it can be controlled. It is just a matter of finding what works for you.