Psoriasis vulgaris, also known as plaque psoriasis, is the most common form of psoriasis and accounts for up to 90% of cases.
Psoriasis vulgaris is an immune-mediated disease which means that it results from unusual activity in the immune system. The result is that one’s body begins to accelerate the growth cycle of skin cells to a very high pace, thus causing the characteristic appearance of sloughing, scaly, inflamed patches of silver-white skin.
Areas behind joints such as the knee and elbow are most susceptible to psoriasis vulgaris plaques. However, any region of the body can be affected including the scalp, feet and genitals.
While acute psoriasis may occur as a result of drug interactions, streptococcal infections and other rare situations, the great majority of psoriasis vulgaris sufferers must live with this condition chronically. That is not say that the patient suffers continuously as this condition tends to occur cyclically: flare-ups followed by periods of lull.
Up to ½ of sufferers also experience scalp psoriasis which is characterized by flaking of the skin on the scalp resulting in a dandruff-like appearance.
Another problem associated with this condition is psoriatic arthritis, which is similar to the commonly known osteoarthritis and occurs in up to 40% of psoriasis sufferers.
It is not well-known what causes this disease although there is likely a genetic component. While genetics play a part, environmental influences such as stress, diet, etc., are thought to play a role.
Psoriasis vulgaris is generally diagnosed visually by a physician or dermatologist.
Treatment is decided based upon the severity and degree of spreading of the psoriasis plaques.
Treating this condition generally involves alleviating the symptoms and addressing the health of the patient as a whole. Treating the plaques can be done with topical lotions and creams. Another common approach to treating psoriasis is the use of phototherapy (light therapy). This treatment approach can be very effective but it also carries several risks including the possibility of scarring, blistering, irritation and increased risk for skin cancer.
For very severe cases, systemic (pills and injections) treatments may be prescribed. These include very potent drugs that mitigate psoriasis vulgaris symptoms admirably but also carry considerable risks of strong side effects such as birth defects and liver and kidney damage.
Perhaps the most empowering treatment for psoriasis vulgaris is taking great care of one’s health by eating an intelligent psoriasis diet, supplementing with adaptogens and exercising regularly, while maintaining a low-stress lifestyle.