What is psoriasis skin disease?
What are the different types of psoriasis?
- Plaque psoriasis is the most common form of psoriasis (i.e. 90% of people with psoriasis suffer from plaque psoriasis).
- Guttate psoriasis is the second most common form of psoriasis. This form of psoriasis develops after an upper respiratory infection like Strep throat and causes an abrupt onset of symptoms.
- Pustular psoriasis is a form of psoriasis that is characterized by the presence of pustules or small bumps filled with pus.
- Inverse psoriasis is a form of psoriasis that is characterized by the presence of smooth and red lesions instead of raised and scaling lesions that are characteristic of plaque psoriasis.This form of psoriasis affects the skin folds or flexures.
- Erthyrodermic psoriasis is a rare form of psoriasis which is characterized by extensive skin
redness and inflammation that resembles a sunburn.
Who is affected by psoriasis?
What are the symptoms of psoriasis? What does psoriasis look like?
- Plaque psoriasis are itching and well-defined areas of redness, dryness and silvery-white scaling known as a lesion or a plaque. The lesions have raised edges and may be painful. The size of the lesions vary from less than 1 cm to more than 10 cm.
- Guttate psoriasis are itching and small (less 1 cm) drop-like plaques or lesions. This form of psoriasis often appears after an upper respiratory infection like a Streptococcus throat infection.
- Pustular psoriasis are pustules or small bumps that are filled with pus.
- Inverse psoriasis are smooth red lesions instead of raised and scaling lesions that are characteristic of plaque psoriasis.
- Erthyrodermic psoriasis are extensive skin redness and inflammation that resembles a sunburn.
Psoriasis can also cause abnormalities in the nails such as pitting and abnormal colour. In some people suffering from psoriasis, there may be joint pain, swelling and stiffness. This is known as psoriatic arthritis.
Is psoriasis painful? Does psoriasis hurt?
Where can you get psoriasis? Where does psoriasis usually appear?
- Plaque psoriasis typically affects the scalp, elbows and knees. Lesions may also appear in the ear canal, the soles of the feet, the palms and the nails. For plaque psoriasis, the plaques are usually symmetrically distributed on the body.
- Guttate psoriasis typically affects the trunk (chest and back).
- Inverse psoriasis typically affects the skin folds such as the genital area, between the buttocks, under the breasts and under the arms.
- Erthyrodermic psoriasis affects the entire body (head to toe).
What causes psoriasis? How do you get psoriasis?
- Psoriasis is hereditary meaning that the disease can be passed down from parents to their children.
- People suffering from psoriasis have at least one family member that is affected by psoriasis.
- Research has shown that environmental factors and lifestyle choices such as smoking, alcohol use, obesity are associated with an increased risk of developing psoriasis.
- The levels of immune cells known as Th17 and Th1 cells and proteins associated with inflammation are elevated at the site of the lesion or plaque, as well as systemically (whole body).
- The inflammation associated with psoriasis causes the cells of the skin known as keratinocytes to rise to the surface and shed at approximately 10 times the normal rate (higher turnover) causing scaling.
Is psoriasis genetic?
- Research has shown that people suffering from psoriasis have at least one family member that also has psoriasis.
- Concordance studies with monozygotic or identical twins (twins share the same genetic material) shows that psoriasis has a concordance rate of approximately 0.7. This means that 70% of the identical twins used in the study both had psoriasis.
- Genome wide association studies (GWAS) have identified genetic variations in genes related to the immune system that increase the risk of developing psoriasis. GWAS studies compare the genetic material of people with and without psoriasis to determine if there are variations in specific genes that may be associated with psoriasis.
What can trigger psoriasis?
- Skin injury such as a cut, burn, insect bite, sunburn or bruise
- Medications such as lithium, beta-blockers, anti-malarial drugs
- Dry and cold weather
- Lifestyle choices such as consuming alcohol, smoking or being overweight
Is psoriasis contagious?
How is psoriasis diagnosed?
How are the severities of psoriasis determined?
- For mild psoriasis, less than 3% of the body is covered in lesions or plaques.
- For moderate psoriasis, between 3% and 10% of the body is covered in lesions or plaques.
- For severe psoriasis, more than 10% of the body is covered in lesions of plaques.
Am I at risk of any other diseases if I have psoriasis?
Is there a cure for psoriasis?
What are the available treatments for psoriasis?
The treatments for psoriasis may be topical (i.e. cream) or oral (i.e. pill) or injection or infusion depending on the severity of the disease. The topical treatment can come in different vehicles such as gels, foams, lotions and sprays for easy applications, especially for psoriasis on the scalp.
The treatments differ for people suffering from mild, moderate or severe psoriasis.
How is mild to moderate psoriasis treated?
- Emollients such as petroleum jelly and thick creams for dry skin
- Coal tar to reduce inflammation
- Topical steroids to reduce inflammation of the affected area
- Different potency and different forms may be prescribed depending on the areas
affected by psoriasis
- Topical vitamin D3 analogues such as calcipotriene to reduce the proliferation of keratinocytes
- Topical retinoids
- Calcineurin inhibitors
How is severe psoriasis treated?
- Systemic immunosuppressants such as methotrexate and cyclosporine.
- Systemic retinoids
- UV phototherapy to reduce inflammation
- Biologics that block specific molecules that contribute to inflammation such as infliximab and adalimumab
- Phosphodiesterase 4 inhibitor to reduce inflammation
What are the complications of suffering from psoriasis? Is psoriasis dangerous?
What is the difference between psoriasis and eczema?
1. Canadian Dermatology Association: https://dermatology.ca/public-patients/skin/psoriasis/
2. American Academy of Dermatologists: https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/scaly-skin/psoriasis
3. National Psoriasis Foundation: https://www.psoriasis.org
4. Psoriasis Speaks: https://www.psoriasis.com/psoriasis-severity