We can all get a bit of itchy, dry, or scaly skin from time to time, especially in winter when there’s less moisture in the air and the temperature drops. Flaky skin has been even more prevalent over the last couple of years as we’ve all washed our hands more due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
However, for many people across the globe, skin issues are more intense and long-term and cause various problems. Psoriasis, for instance, can be a nasty disease to deal with, and it pays to get it diagnosed as soon as possible. Here are some signs you might have this condition, a look at different types of psoriasis and what to do about it.
What Exactly is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a common skin disease with no cure that’s categorized as a chronic health condition. Most people who have the issue find it goes through cycles, flaring for weeks or months at a time and then subsiding for a period. Psoriasis is related to inflammation in the body, which leads to an overactive immune system to speed up skin cell growth. Instead of shedding in the normal timeframe, though, the cells pile up on the skin’s surface and cause problems.
Psoriasis can appear on any part of the body but is particularly common on the scalp, elbows, and knees. It can crop up for many people in other areas, too, including the hands, feet, nails, face, elbows, legs, knees, and skinfolds. The inflammation caused by psoriasis can negatively impact other tissues and organs, and many people go on to develop psoriatic arthritis, too.
Symptoms to Look Out For
There are numerous symptoms to look out for that indicate you’re dealing with psoriasis. These vary from person to person, and sufferers may have one sign of psoriasis or many. For example, if you have this disease, you could notice red patches of skin on your body covered with thick, silvery-looking scales, or dry, cracked skin. This skin may bleed or itch.
You might deal with small scaly spots or itching, burning, or soreness of your skin, too. Plus, some people see their nails changing and becoming ridged, thicker, and pitted. Also, some people develop stiff and swollen joints.
Types of Psoriasis
There isn’t just a single type of psoriasis, either, and patients can have more than one form to deal with. The most common type that affects most people is plaque psoriasis, which causes dry, red, raised skin lesions topped with silvery scales. You might come down with nail psoriasis, which, as the name suggests, solely affects fingers and toenails. Beyond abnormal nail growth, pitting, and discoloration, some people might find their nails loosen and separate from the nail bed or even crumble.
Another psoriasis type is guttate. Bacterial infection generally triggers this style (e.g., strep throat), primarily affecting children and young adults. Patients with this type have small, drop-shaped scaling lesions, most likely on the arms, trunk, and legs. There is also inverse psoriasis, which leads to issues with skin folds, particularly those of the breasts, buttons, and groin regions.
A pustular psoriasis is a rare form that involves clearly defined pus-filled lesions occurring in multiple parts of the body, such as the hands or feet. You may suffer from erythrodermic psoriasis, too. This is the least common format and can cover the entire body with a red, peeling, nasty-looking rash that can burn or itch significantly. Lastly, there’s psoriatic arthritis. This condition causes swollen, painful joints, like what you get if you have other types of arthritis. For some people, the only signs alerting them to psoriasis are these painful joints.
What to Do Next if You Think You Have Psoriasis
If you think you could have psoriasis, book an appointment with a doctor to get checked out. You might want to see a physician in-person, or you could arrange a session with an online doctor for convenience. It’s better to see a medical practitioner sooner rather than later before psoriasis becomes widespread or severe so you can start treatment ASAP.
The way forward will vary depending on the type and location of your psoriasis, so keep this in mind. Often, however, people get prescribed topical creams and ointments to apply to their sore skin. Many people also get recommended to engage in phototherapy, involving exposure to certain types of ultraviolet light, or they receive prescriptions for oral and injected medications.
Let your doctor know if you feel that the treatments you’re utilizing aren’t effective or if you have too many adverse side effects to deal with as a result of treatment.
Like other chronic diseases, psoriasis requires careful management and a decent understanding. It may affect your life in more ways than you’d like, but there are ways to deal with many of the challenges and lead a happy existence.