What types of treatments are available for psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a chronic, inherited skin condition thought to be caused by an overproduction of skin cells. Typical symptoms of psoriasis are patches of red, scaly skin but certain types of the disease can cause other problems. There are multiple types of psoriasis.

  • Plaque – This is the most common type and affects the elbows, knees, scalp, lower back, and genitals.
  • Guttate – This type can cause red spots all over the skin.
  • Inverse – Patches of red, raw-looking skin develop where skin touches skin.
  • Pustular – The skin becomes red and swollen with pus-filled bumps.
  • Erythrodermic – The skin looks burned and the body cannot maintain its normal temperature.

All forms of the condition can be uncomfortable but the pustular and erythrodermic types can be life threatening. Proper medical treatment is imperative to control these conditions.

Plaque psoriasis – the most common form

About 80% of cases are plaque psoriasis. This type of psoriasis occurs because the body produces more cells than it can shed, resulting in thick patches of scaly, itchy skin. The patches may itch but scratching them can cause them to become thicker. Patches may remain separate or join together. Nail problems may also occur.Some people may develop psoriatic arthritis, painful inflammation of the joints.

Causes and treatment

The onset of psoriasis typically occurs in a person’s twenties or in their fifties. It is not contagious. The genes for this condition are inherited from family members, but not everyone with the genes will develop psoriasis. A rare mutation in the CARD14 gene, when activated by an environmental trigger, can lead to the most common form of psoriasis (plaque). However, more recent findings suggest that these mutation may also be involved in the pustular form of psoriasis, as well as with psoriatic arthritis.

Psoriasis is treated with topical creams, with phototherapy, and systematically. There is no cure. The choice of treatment depends on the type, where on the body it is located, the severity, the person’s age and health, and how the person is coping with the symptoms. This condition can affect a person’s quality of life. Fortunately, a dermatologist can diagnose and treat psoriasis to bring symptoms under control. If you believe you suffer from any form of psoriasis, it’s imperative that you make an appointment with a dermatologist immediately. Not only can your dermatologist help accurately diagnose the type of psoriasis you are suffering from, but he or she can also provide you the most appropriate treatment plan for your unique situation.

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