Psoriasis is a chronic auto-immune condition that causes the rapid buildup of skin cells. When the cells multiply abnormally, they often leave scales and patches on the surface of the skin.
Typical psoriatic scales are whitish-silver and develop in thick, red patches.
Adults who have psoriasis that covers at least 10 percent of their body surface area are at almost twice the risk of early death, than those without the disease. It is however not contagious.
It can sooner or later spread from one area of the body to another, especially if it is left untreated.
Symptoms of psoriasis
Psoriasis comes with constant symptoms. They can be easy to detect for the eye. You will still have to visit your doctor to get confirmation regarding the diagnosis of the disease.
- Rashes or patches of red, inflamed skin, often covered with loose, silver-colored scales.
- Itchy, painful skin that can crack or bleed.
- Small areas of bleeding where the involved skin is scratched.
- Problems with your fingernails and toenails, including discoloration and pitting. The nails may also begin to crumble or detach from the nail bed.
- Scaly plaques on the scalp.
In severe cases, the plaques will grow and merge into one another, covering large areas.
How can you prevent psoriasis from spreading?
Psoriasis will often spread to other body parts and leave the person itchy and irritable. Not all people will be affected in the same way and doctors will classify the condition as mild, moderate or severe.
You can prevent it from spreading by trying the following:
- A healthy diet.
- Avoid smoking and alcohol.
- Protect your skin.
- Decrease stress.
- Reconsider certain medications.
- Use lotion.
Certain triggers can make symptoms worse or cause flare-ups. These triggers include cold and dry weather. Such weather can dry out your skin, which makes the chances of having a flare-up higher.
These foods can also cause inflammation that results in flare-up:
- processed meats.
- pre-packaged food products.
- canned fruits and vegetables.
- processed foods that are high in sugar, salt, and fat.
Scratching itchy psoriasis does not cause psoriasis to spread, so you do not have to worry about that.
How can you treat psoriasis?
Even though psoriasis cannot be completely cured, treatment can surely lead to halting the symptoms for some time.
Coal tar products for psoriasis have been around for more than a century. Coal tar is the byproduct of coal processing and distillation. Medicinal coal tar works by relieving inflammation and slowing skin cell growth and turnover, which ultimately will thin out psoriatic plaques. It takes about eight weeks for coal tar to have this effect.
Salicylic acid is another route to treatment. Some doctors recommend salicylic acid ointment, which smoothes the skin by promoting the shedding of psoriatic scales.
Studies suggest that Aloe Vera can improve psoriasis. Aloe vera is anti-inflammatory and helps decrease redness.
Topical preparations containing a synthetic form of vitamin A can help improve psoriasis. These preparations don’t work as quickly but they certainly do work. Topical retinoids can sometimes cause dryness and irritation of the skin.
Fish oil may be helpful for psoriasis when taken orally. Research has suggested that taking daily oral fish oil supplements containing 1.8 to 3.6 grams of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) may bring some improvement by reducing inflammation.
For persistent, difficult-to-treat cases of psoriasis, doctors suggest sunlight therapy as well, as long as it is not extreme. Having some outside time in the sun can turn psoriasis symptoms around.
Reminder: No medicine will keep symptoms away forever. With the right treatment, you may enter psoriasis remission and have no visible symptoms for a period of time.
Moisturize your body every single day. Maintain the routine to keep your skin from feeling dry.
The diagnosis of psoriasis is typically made by obtaining information from the physical examination of the skin, medical history, and relevant family health history.
Sometimes lab tests, including a microscopic examination of tissue obtained from a surgical skin biopsy, may be necessary.
Occasionally, it can be difficult to differentiate eczematous dermatitis from psoriasis. This is when a biopsy can be quite valuable to distinguish between the two conditions.
Therefore, consult a professional before assuming that you may have psoriasis.