Psoriasis is an immune-mediated disease that causes raised, red, scaly patches to appear on the skin. Psoriasis can show up on any part of the body, but usually affects the outside of the elbows, knees or scalp. Skin cells in people with psoriasis grow at an abnormally fast rate, causing cell buildup or psoriasis lesions.
Psoriasis is not contagious, and the lesions are not infectious. The exact cause is not currently known, but the immune system and genetics play major roles in the development of psoriasis. Typically, psoriasis develops between the ages of 15 and 35 and affects men and women equally. About one-third of people diagnosed have a family member with psoriasis.
A doctor or dermatologist can diagnosis psoriasis by skin examination or by taking a biopsy of the affected area, and help distinguish the type of psoriasis and ideal treatment.
Plaque psoriasis is the most common form of psoriasis. It appears as raised, red patches covered with a silvery white buildup of dead skin cells. These patches appear on the scalp, knees, elbows, lower back and are reported as itchy and painful.
Guttate psoriasis appears as small, dot-like lesions on the skin. Guttate psoriasis commonly presents in children or young adults and can be triggered by a strep infection.
Inverse psoriasis displays as a very red lesions in body folds, behind the knees, under the arm or in the groin.
Pustular psoriasis appears as a painful reddened area of skin with raised bumps/blisters filled with fluid or puss. These blisters and fluid are not infections or contagious.
Erythrodermic psoriasis is a rare but very dangerous form of psoriasis. It covers large areas of the body and causes skin to come off in large sheets.
Treatments for arthritis can range from phototherapy, topical medications, to powerful systemic medications depending on the type and severity of psoriasis.
Psoriatic arthritis is an inflammatory form of arthritis. It affects about 30 percent of people with psoriasis. Symptoms include pain, stiffness, and swelling to the joints, nail changes and a general fatigue. Early treatment is critical to prevent joint damage. Psoriatic arthritis can range from mild to severe without any relationship to the severity of skin psoriasis.
Psoriatic arthritis can cause spondylitis or inflammation in the spinal column causing joint motion in the neck, lower back, and sacroiliac joints painful. Enthesitis or inflammation of the site where ligaments or tendons attach to bones can lead to local tissue damage. Tissues at the feet, ribs, spine, and pelvis can become ropey (fibrous) or solid (ossification). Psoriatic arthritis can also lead to dactylitis or swelling of an entire finger or toe.
Psoriatic arthritis treatment range from oral medications to medications that are injected or infused to target a specific part of the body.