Psoriasis is a disease whose main symptom is gray or silvery flaky patches on the skin which are red and inflamed underneath. In the United States, it affects 2 to 2.6 percent of the population, or between 5.8 and 7.5 million people. Commonly affected areas include the scalp, elbows, knees, arms, stomach and back. Psoriasis is autoimmune in origin, and is not contagious. Around a quarter of people with psoriasis also suffer from psoriatic arthritis, which is similar to rheumatoid arthritis in its effects. Psoriasis was first given that name in complete differentiation from other skin conditions by the Austrian dermatologist Ferdinand von Hebra in 1841, although there are what are believed to be descriptions of the disease in sources going back to ancient Roman and possibly even biblical times.
Types of Psoriasis:
Skin lesions are red at the base and covered by silvery scales.
Also known as Classis Psoriasis or Psoriasis Vulgaris. The most common form of psoriasis, affecting about 80% of people with the disease. People with plaque psoriasis have raised, red, inflamed areas of skin-called plaques-often on the scalp, knees, elbows, chest, or back. These inflamed plaques of skin are covered by a silvery-white buildup called scale. It will often reoccur and its cause is not fully understood, although it is generally considered to be an autoimmune disease.
Blisters of noninfectious pus appear on the skin. Attacks of pustular psoriasis may be triggered by medications, infections, stress, or exposure to certain chemicals.
Small, teardrop shaped lesions appear on the trunk, limbs, and scalp. Guttate psoriasis is most often triggered by upper respiratory infections (for example, a sore throat caused by streptococcal bacteria).
The second most common form of psoriasis, characterized by small, pink or red drops on the skin. This type of psoriasis may cover a large portion of the body and is usually found on the chest, back, arms, or legs. It appears after a bacterial infection such as strep throat, especially in younger patients. Some cases go away without treatment in a few weeks, while many cases are more persistent and require treatment.
Joint and connective tissue inflammation that produces symptoms of arthritis in patients who have or will develop psoriasis.
Inverse psoriasis (or “Flexural psoriasis”)
Smooth, red patches occur in the folds of the skin near the genitals, under the breasts, or in the armpits. The symptoms may be worsened by friction, sweating and/or the presence of yeast or fungal infections. It is called inverse psoriasis because it occurs in moist areas, areas that aren’t normally affected by classic psoriasis.
Widespread reddening and exfoliation of the skin that may form the initial outbreak of psoriasis, but is more often the result of exacerbation of unstable plaque psoriasis, particularly under the triggering effect of: abrupt withdrawal of systemic treatment, use of systemic steroids or excessive use of high potency topical steroids corticosteroids (cortisone) or in a koebner response to a widespread allergic reaction or severe sunburn. This form of psoriasis can be genuinely dangerous, since the extreme inflammation and exfoliation interfere with the body’s ability to regulate temperature and perform other barrier functions.
Effect on the Quality of Life:
Individuals with psoriasis may experience significant physical discomfort and some disability. Itching and pain can interfere with basic functions, such as self-care, walking, and sleep. Plaques on hands and feet can prevent individuals from working at certain occupations, playing some sports, and caring for family members or a home. The frequency of medical care is costly and can interfere with an employment or school schedule. People with moderate to severe psoriasis may feel self-conscious about their appearance and have a poor self-image that stems from fear of public rejection and psychosexual concerns. Psychological distress can lead to significant depression and social isolation.
Psoriasis is driven by the immune system, especially involving a type of white blood cell called a T cell. Normally, T cells help protect the body against infection and disease. T cells help create scabs over wounds. In the case of psoriasis, T cells are put into action by mistake and become so active that they trigger other immune responses, which lead to inflammation and to rapid turnover of skin cells. Most recently, the natural or innate immune system has been found to be highly implicated. Non-specific natural responses of the skin immune system, and virtually every subsystem of that, are activated in psoriasis. Epidermal cells up on the surface of the skin, forming itchy patches or plaques. The first outbreak of psoriasis is sometimes triggered by emotional or mental stress or physical skin injury, but heredity is a major factor as well. In about one-third of the cases, there is a family history of psoriasis. Researchers have studied a large number of families affected by psoriasis and identified genes linked to the disease. (Genes govern every bodily function and determine the inherited traits passed from parent to child.) People with psoriasis may notice that there are times when their skin worsens, then improves. Conditions that may cause flareups include infections, stress, and changes in climate that dry the skin. Also, certain medicines, including Lithium salt and beta blockers, which are prescribed for high blood pressure, may trigger an outbreak or worsen the disease. Other autoimmune diseases such as HIV/AIDS may significantly worsen the symptoms of psoriasis. Alcohol consumption and obesity may also worsen the condition.
For Herbal Medicines On Psoriasis Disease