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Psoriasis: The "Monster" Unveiled

by Friederike Schönauer 18 days ago in health
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Psoriasis is a skin disease that causes reddish, flaking lesions. Although it is not contagious, sufferers experience social withdrawal.

Psoriasis: The "Monster" Unveiled
Photo by Fleur Kaan on Unsplash

Psoriasis is a skin disease that causes reddish, flaking lesions. Although it is not contagious, sufferers experience social withdrawal.

Psoriasis is a chronic, non-contagious, multigenic (several genes involved), inflammatory skin disease, with a genetic incidence in about 30% of cases. It is characterized by reddish and scaling lesions, usually in plaques, which generally appear on the scalp, elbows, and knees.

It mainly appears before the age of 30 and after the age of 50, but in 15% of cases, it can appear in childhood.

By Dainis Graveris on Unsplash

Symptoms of psoriasis

According to the location and characteristics of the lesions, there are several types of psoriasis:

Psoriasis Vulgaris – reddish, delineated, lesions of varying sizes with dry, adherent, silvery, or grayish scales that appear on the scalp, knees, and elbows;

Reverse psoriasis – wetter lesions, located in crease areas such as scalp, knees, and elbows;

Psoriasis Guttata – small, localized, droplet-shaped lesions associated with infectious processes. They usually appear on the trunk, arms, and thighs (very close to the shoulders and hips) and occur most frequently in children and young adults;

Erythrodermic Psoriasis – generalized lesions on 75% or more of the body;

Psoriasis Ungualis – punctiform depressions or yellowish spots appear mainly on the fingernails;

Arthropathic Psoriasis – in about 8% of cases, it may be associated with joint involvement. It appears suddenly with pain at the tips of the fingers and toes or in large joints such as the knee.

Pustular Psoriasis – pus-filled lesions appear on the feet and hands (localized form) or spread over the body;

Palmoplantar Psoriasis – lesions appear as cracks on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.

Causes of psoriasis

Besides genetics, other factors are involved in the onset and evolution of the disease. Psychological factors, stress, exposure to cold, use of certain medications, and alcoholic intake worsen the condition.

Treatment of psoriasis

Psoriasis is not curable, it is treatable. There is no way to prevent the disease, although it is possible to control recurrence.

Mild and moderate cases (about 80%) can be controlled with the use of local medication, moisturizing the skin, and sun exposure. For those who do not have time for daily sun exposure, ultraviolet A and B baths are recommended in specialized clinics and under strict medical supervision. These baths are not recommended for children.

Keep in mind that, in most cases, treatment is divided into two stages: suppression of lesions and maintenance of lesion-free skin. Even when reaching the second stage, it is important to visit your dermatologist periodically so that possible adjustments can be made to maintain the best quality of life possible and the risk of recurrence is reduced.

Some tar-based ointments have proven effective in controlling the disease, but have the disadvantage that they soil clothing and bedding and have a strong, creoline-like smell. Oral medication is only introduced in the most severe cases of psoriasis refractory to other treatments.

By Enecta Cannabis extracts on Unsplash

Recommendations for coping with psoriasis

  • Hydrate your skin very well, to avoid excessive dryness, which favors the possibility of developing lesions;

  • Expose yourself carefully and moderately to the sun, but first, apply a moisturizing or therapeutic cream. You will need to use it all your life;
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages;
  • Try not to wear yourself out emotionally. Stress plays an important role in the appearance of lesions. As it is not an easy task, seek professional help if you consider it necessary;
  • Don’t run away from social gatherings because of the lesions. Psoriasis is not contagious, and if you stay away from everything and everyone, you can compromise your emotional state and increase the problem;
  • Visit your dermatologist regularly and follow his advice to the letter. This will help you control flares.
  • Frequently asked questions about psoriasis

    The symptoms may not go away?

    Yes, some patients have conditions that take a long time to go away. Still, there are many possibilities for treating the disease. It is worth looking not only at a dermatologist, but a psoriasis specialist can prescribe a treatment that makes remission cycles last longer.

    Is psoriasis curable?

    No, but it is a well-known disease that has many treatment alternatives.

    Does stress worsen the disease?

    Yes, find your own way of dealing with stress. Physical exercise, meditation, or any hobby that promotes relaxation.

    Does the sun make the disease worse?

    On the contrary. As long as adequate sun protection is provided, sunbathing is encouraged to ease symptoms of the disease.

    What factors can make the disease worse?

    The main ones are stress, alcohol, smoking, drugs in the classes of corticoids, anti-inflammatory drugs, and some psychiatric drugs such as lithium, cold weather with little sunlight, and trauma to the skin.

    Are there foods that help control injuries?

    Yes, find a place on your menu for tuna, salmon, sardines, and other cold-water fish. Olive oil, nuts, and seeds are rich in omega-3s. Among fruits, strawberries are a good choice because they contain folic acid, which acts against inflammation.

    Can psoriasis affect areas other than the skin?

    Yes. It is not very common, but the disease can cause joint symptoms.

    Is it possible to have psoriasis only on the joints?

    Yes, but most commonly the disease reaches the skin and progresses to the joints.

    Can psoriasis trigger other diseases?

    Yes, psoriasis can be related to the onset of other diseases, such as hypertension, although there seems to be no relationship. Many patients may also suffer from depression due to the stigma that lesions carry.

    For more information please visit ForumPsoriasis or one of our oficial partners.


    About the author

    Friederike Schönauer

    I am currently developing content and music therapy sessions @ ForumPsoriasis to help psoriasis patients transcend their clinical picture and embrace life within the imposed limitations of their disease.

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