What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a chronic, inflammatory skin disease. Most often psoriasis affects the knees, elbows, scalp, trunk and nails. There are several types of psoriasis:

  • Common psoriasis (plaque psoriasis) – inflamed skin, coated with silver, white scales (the most common type of psoriasis);
  • Plaque psoriasis – in the form of small dots, covering skin;
  • Pustular Psoriasis – in the form of blisters, filled with exudate. It can affect vast areas of the skin;
  • Reverse psoriasis – psoriasis flexor surfaces and skin folds, observed in the folds of the body (armpits, smell, under the breast);
  • Erythrodermic psoriasis – intensive peeling and skin inflammation in most part of its surface.

Psoriasis causes

The cause of psoriasis remains unclear. False signals of a defect in the immune system might lead to overgrowth of skin cells. Because the cells grow faster, than you need, they accumulate on the surface of the skin. Extra skin cells build up in the form of silver-white scales, which are characteristic of the type of psoriasis blyashkovidnogo.

Risk factors for psoriasis

Factors, that may increase the risk of occurrence of psoriasis include:

  • A family history of psoriasis;
  • Living in a cold climate;
  • Suppression of the immune system, including AIDS;
  • Some bacterial infection;
  • Some medications, such as beta-blockers, and lithium,;
  • Smoking.

Psoriasis symptoms

Red, thick, Hard skin, psoriatic can appear anywhere on the body, but are commonly found on the scalp, elbows, lap, palms and soles. Other symptoms of psoriasis include:

  • The silver-white patches;
  • Missing or deformed nails on the hands and / or feet;
  • Red lesion in the folds of the buttock;
  • Joint pain, similar to the symptoms of arthritis.

The skin may also feel pain, burning, itch, depending on the type of psoriasis.

Diagnosis of psoriasis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical examination, focusing on inspection of the skin and nails. There are no specific tests, eg, blood, or diagnostic procedures for the determination of psoriasis. Sometimes a skin biopsy, to accurately confirm the diagnosis.

Psoriasis – treatment

Treatment of psoriasis is based on:

  • The severity of the disease;
  • Size and location of psoriatic areas;
  • The response to treatment of psoriasis.

Local treatment of psoriasis

Many patients well help cure for psoriasis, be imposed directly on the skin. For this purpose, applied:

  • Corticosteroid creams and ointments (the most common method of treatment of psoriasis);
  • Synthetic forms of Vitamin D and retinoids (calcipotriene ointment);
  • Retinoids (tazarotene gel 0,05 and 0,1%);
  • Preparations coal tar (Denorex, Pentrax, Tegrin, Zethar);
  • Salts liquid bath, skin moisturisers;
  • Cyclosporine and pimecrolimus (especially effective for the treatment of psoriasis obratngo).

Treatment of psoriasis with ultraviolet light

If psoriasis covers more than 30% body, it is difficult to treat means, are applied directly to the skin. In this case, the daily, short sessions sunlight exposure, that helps to alleviate or reduce the symptoms of psoriasis in many patients. Sunlight is often prescribed as the first procedure of the treatment of psoriasis. A more controlled form of artificial light treatment (phototherapy UVB) It is often used in cases, If psoriasis covers extensive areas of the body. Besides, Psoriasis can be treated with UV (UF world) and psoralen drugs. Psoralen is taken orally, or as a formulation for application on skin, and makes the body more sensitive to light. This procedure is known as PUVA.

Phototherapy can be very effective in the fight against psoriasis, but it requires long-term treatment. Also, it may cause side effects, such as nausea, headache and fatigue, burning and itching. UVB and PUVA may increase the risk of squamous cell skin cancer and, perhaps, life-threatening type of skin cancer – Melanoma. However, it is unclear, whether UVB increases the risk of skin cancer.

Systemic treatment of psoriasis

For severe types of psoriasis, doctors may prescribe a number of powerful drugs, which may be effective, but which are associated with serious side effects. These drugs include:

  • Methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall) – preparation, that affects the immune system as a whole; it should not be taken by pregnant women, women, planning to become pregnant, or their male partners;
  • Cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral) – other systemic therapies, which suppresses the immune system, to slow the growth of skin cells; should not be taken by pregnant and lactating women;
  • Gidroksimochevina (Hydrea) – the drug is less toxic, Cem methotrexate or cyclosporine, and may be less effective;
  • Systemic retinoids – They may be prescribed in severe cases of psoriasis. Retinoids can cause birth defects, and women need to carefully protect themselves from pregnancy for several years after treatment. Systemic retinoids are often combined with phototherapy for efficiency. Besides, they have protective properties, preventing squamous cell skin cancer.

New medicines include biologic agents, that affect the part of the immune response. For Example, Ustekinumab (Stelara) – newly approved drug, intended to suppress certain cells of the immune system, that cause inflammation.

Preventing Psoriasis

Avoiding skin trauma, Infections, Cold can help reduce the spread of foci of psoriasis in people with the disease. Your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods, If you intend to, they may cause deterioration of the symptoms of psoriasis.

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