WHAT IS PSORIASIS?
Psoriasis is a skin condition that is caused by a disorder of the body’s immune system, causing internal inflammation in the body. The resulting inflammation in the body can cause visible plaques and scaly skin to appear.
What causes this inflammation? The immune system goes into over-drive, accelerating skin cell growth. Normal skin cell growth grow and shed over the space of the month, whereas for Psoriasis sufferers this growth occurs over the space of 3-4 days, with the skin cells piling on top of each other instead of shedding off. This process creates the plaques on the skin commonly associated with Psoriasis.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF PSORIASIS?
These plaques have the ability to itch, burn and sting due to small micro wounds in Psoriatic skin plaques and the bacterial growth within the dead skin cells. The itch is commonly incessant, and symptoms can range from mild to debilitating. Psoriatic skin plaques can form anywhere on the body, however they most commonly form on the elbows, knees and scalp.
TYPES OF PSORIASIS
There are five official types of Psoriasis that have been identified.
- Plaque – the most common type, with 80-90% of Psoriasis sufferers suffering from Plaque Psoriasis. It’s characterized by thick red patches of skin, often with a silver or white scaly layer.
- Guttate – appears as small red spots, affecting around 8% of Psoriasis sufferers. It most often starts during childhood or young adulthood.
- Inverse – appears in skinfolds, including under the arm pits, breasts or groin area. This type of psoriasis is red and often shiny and smooth.
- Pustular – a severe form of Psoriasis, with white pustules quickly forming around Psoriatic plaques. It most often affects isolated parts of the body, for example hands or feet
- Erythrodermic – a severe form of Psoriasis, which appear like severe burns on the skin. The body struggles to control its core temperature, which can be a medical emergency.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE PSORIASIS?
Due to the complexities of Psoriasis and its similar presentation to other skin conditions, you should book an appointment with a Dermatologist in order for them to make a diagnosis and categorise which form of Psoriasis you have. You will then be able to discuss treatment options and how to best tackle the disease.