Dermatologists and Skin Care

Psoriasis - Causes, Risk Factors, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Written by
Dr. Divya Banu M
and medically reviewed by Dr. Suvash Sahu

Published on Nov 21, 2019 and last reviewed on Nov 25, 2019   -  3 min read

Abstract

Abstract

Psoriasis is an autoimmune skin disorder that speeds up the cell cycle, resulting in the buildup of dry skin cells on the surface of the skin. Read the article to understand its symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment.

Psoriasis - Causes, Risk Factors, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

One of the common dermatological conditions observed is psoriasis which is characterized by building up of skin cells followed by the formation of scales, itchy and dry patches. It has on and off nature as it comes and goes and can be painful at times.

What Causes Psoriasis?

Though the main etiology has not been discovered yet, it is known to be associated with immune-associated conditions that are related to T cells and white blood cells. Overactive T cells lead to increased growth of skin cells, more T cells and white blood cells, thus the action is noticed.

What Are the Risk Factors and Triggering Factors?

Usually, there are various factors that can put you at risk of getting psoriasis and they are as follows:

  • Infections of the skin, streptococcal infection, etc.
  • Skin injuries like cuts, severe sunburn.
  • Smoking.
  • Stress.
  • Extreme alcohol consumption.
  • Deficiency of vitamin D.
  • Medications like Lithium, beta-blockers, etc.
  • Family history.
  • Obesity.

What Are the Symptoms?

There are various types of psoriasis like plaque psoriasis, nail psoriasis, guttate psoriasis, inverse psoriasis, pustular psoriasis, erythrodermic psoriasis, and psoriatic arthritis. The symptoms also vary according to the type and location involved. Some of the commonly seen signs and symptoms include:

  • Red patches on the skin that are covered with thick, silvery scales.
  • In children, small scaling spots can be seen.
  • Dry and cracked skin that may be associated with bleeding (Auspitz sign).
  • Itchiness, burning sensation or soreness.
  • Nails that are thickened, pitted or ridged.
  • Joints that are swollen and stiff.

What Are the Complications?

Psoriasis in itself is a disturbing condition and if not treated may lead to certain other conditions or certain associated pre-existing conditions may worsen the outcome of disease:

  • Psoriatic arthritis which leads to joint damage and disturbance in function.
  • Eye disorders like conjunctivitis, blepharitis, and uveitis.
  • Obesity.
  • Type 2 diabetes is also very commonly associated with severe psoriasis.
  • Increased blood pressure.
  • Cardiovascular diseases like irregular heartbeat, stroke, increased cholesterol, atherosclerosis.
  • Metabolic syndrome includes blood pressure, increased insulin levels and abnormal cholesterol levels.
  • Certain autoimmune diseases like sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, etc.
  • Emotional disturbances.
  • Kidney disorders.
  • Parkinson’s disease.

What Are the Ways to Diagnose It?

Usually, the diagnosis is clear cut and straight forward. It involves a complete medical and personal history of the patient along with physical examination and skin biopsy. In physical examination, the skin, scalp, and nails are examined.

The procedure for skin biopsy includes initial application of local anesthetic and a small sample of affected skin is taken which is then examined under the microscope to diagnose the type and to exclude other diseases.

How Can It Be Treated?

The treatment is mainly aimed at reducing the inflammation and clearing the skin. There are various treatment options available like topical treatments, phototherapy (light therapy), and medicines given systematically. Types of treatment mainly depend upon areas of involvement and severity of illness.

Topical medications include Corticosteroids that reduce the inflammation and gives relief from itching. Others include Vitamin D, Anthralin, Retinoids, Salicylic acid, Moisturizers, etc.

Phytotherapy also called light therapy includes sunlight, UVB, Psoralen with UVA, Excimer laser, etc. Oral medications or injectable medications involve Retinoids, Methotrexate, Cyclosporine, Immune system moderating drugs, etc.

Some alternative therapy can also be used like aloe vera gel, fish oil, etc., which are seen to provide some relief, though they are not yet scientifically proven to cure or manage this disease.

Also, some precautionary measures and home remedies can be used to have better results like maintaining the hygiene, the use of moisturizers, avoiding the triggers of psoriasis, limited or minimal exposure to sunlight, etc.

It is important to notice the initial signs and symptoms of psoriasis and consult your physician as delay in it can lead to complications, and also the physician will diagnose the exact type of psoriasis and give the medications accordingly. With the emergence of online medical platforms, it has become easy to consult a doctor whenever you want and hence, get your queries clarified instantly.

Last reviewed at:
25 Nov 2019  -  3 min read

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Related Questions & Answers


What is the ayurveda treatment for psoriasis?

Query: Hi doctor, I have joint eczema for the past seven to eight years in both knee, the lower portion of leg and back of hand joints. My doctor says that it is psoriasis. Please clarify.  Read Full »


Dr. Alka
Ayurveda Specialist

Answer: Hello, Welcome to icliniq.com. I just read your query. Psoriasis is a non-infectious and inflammatory disease of the skin. Sometimes, the reason is unknown. As you have psoriasis from the past 7 to 8 years, it has come to the chronic state. So, I recommend you to go for panchakarma therapy. Panchaka...  Read Full »

Do I need hospitalization for psoriasis?

Query: Hi doctor, I am suffering from severe psoriasis. I also have something else going on along with the psoriasis. My skin is red, swollen, pus filled and large yellow scales of skin are coming off. I cannot touch anything on my skin as it causes extreme pain. It is also hot to touch. I picked all the s...  Read Full »


Dr. Jyotisterna Mittal
Dermatologist

Answer: Hi, Welcome to icliniq.com. I have read your query in detail, saw the pictures (attachment removed to protect patient identity) and do understand your concern. This pus filled lesions is a form of psoriasis called pustular psoriasis.Also you seem to be going into psoriatic erythroderma that is invol...  Read Full »

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