Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition whose cause isn’t fully understood. It is thought to be related to an immune system problem with T cells and other white blood cells.
T cells normally travel through the body to defend against foreign substances, such as viruses or bacteria. But if you have psoriasis, the T cells attack healthy skin cells by mistake, as if to heal a wound or to fight an infection, and extra skin cells form scales and red patches that are sometimes itchy and even painful. It isn’t entirely clear what causes T cells to malfunction in people with psoriasis. Researchers believe both genetics and environmental factors play a role.
Psoriasis signs and symptoms me be different for each person, though the most common ones include:
- red patches of skin covered with thick, silvery scales
- inflammation in the affected areas
- small scaling spots (commonly seen in children)
- dry, cracked skin that may bleed
- itching, burning or soreness
- thickened, pitted or ridged nails
- swollen and stiff joints
Psoriasis patches can range from a few spots of dandruff-like scaling, to major eruptions that cover large areas.
Most types of psoriasis go through cycles, flaring for a few weeks or months, then subsiding for a time.
Psoriasis can flare because of a trigger that you may be able to identify. Factors known to cause a flare up include infections, injury to the skin, stress, smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, vitamin D deficiency, as well as taking certain medications.
You don’t have to suffer with the discomfort, pain, or embarrassment associated with psoriasis. If performing routine tasks has gotten more difficult, and if you’re having joint problems, it’s time to seek treatment for your psoriasis.
Although there is no cure, there are a number of treatment options. Psoriasis treatments include steroid creams, occlusion, light therapy, oral medications, and injectable medications.
Seek medical attention
If you suspect you have psoriasis or have already been diagnosed with it, please schedule an appointment.
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