Psoriasis is a common skin condition that many doctors believe is an autoimmune disease. That means that the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks some part of the body. The skin and sometimes the joints are attacked. No one knows what prompts the immune system to do this.
With psoriasis, something goes wrong in the cycle of skin cell regeneration. Normally, it takes about a month for new skin cells to rise up from the bottom of the layers of skin. In psoriasis, new skin cells come up from the basal layer in only three to four days. Because of this, they don’t mature properly and flake off like normal cells but form silvery, scaly plaques that are mostly found on the knees, elbows, lower back or the scalp.
This is a chronic disease, which means it is long-lasting. Indeed, it most often begins in childhood and comes and goes throughout the person’s life.
Plaque psoriasis is the most common form of the disorder, but it can turn into or be joined by other forms. Inverse psoriasis is a type where the affected skin touches another area of the skin such as the space beneath the breasts. The signs are red, smooth patches of skin that feel raw to the patient. Inverse sometimes happens when a person with plaque psoriasis gains a great deal of weight.
Pustular psoriasis presents as pustules, or bumps filled with pus on the patient’s skin. These pustules are usually found on the hands and/or feet. People develop the guttate type after they’ve had an infection. In the guttate type, the skin is covered with small, pinkish, scaly spots that cover the trunk, the legs and the arms.
In the erythrodermic type, the skin is red and angry, looking as if the person has suffered a second degree burn. Accompanying symptoms are fever and chills as well as dehydration. This type sometimes occurs if the plaque type is severe and uncontrolled or if the person has an allergic reaction, gets a bad sunburn or suddenly stops medication to treat their plaque psoriasis. Erythrodermic is considered a medical emergency.
Other Signs and Symptoms
Other signs and symptoms of the condition are problems with the nails. The nails can pit, lift away from the nail bed and become discolored. Some people find that the condition attacks their joints. This is called psoriatic arthritis. The early symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include a finger or toe joint that is swollen and tender; pain in the heel; swelling just above the heel and early morning stiffness that gets better as the day goes on.
Call Us for More Information
If you’re noticing silvery, itchy scales on your skin or are having other symptoms of psoriasis, set up a consultation at Atomic Dermatology, located in Pasco. Contact our office today to book an appointment and learn about the available treatments.