What is Psoriasis?

구월동피부과 People with psoriasis have red, raised patches of skin that are covered with silvery-white scales. These patches can burn, itch, and bleed. They often go through cycles of improvement and worsening.

구월동피부과

Doctors think that something wrong with your immune system causes psoriasis. It triggers your skin cells to grow too quickly.

Causes

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, which means your immune system attacks healthy cells by mistake. This causes your skin cells to grow too quickly, and the buildup creates dry, scaly patches. No one knows exactly what causes psoriasis, but it’s thought to be a combination of things. Genetics and environmental factors play a role.

The most common form is plaque psoriasis. It looks like red patches covered with silvery-white scales. These patches usually appear on the elbows, knees, scalp, and fingernails, but they can be anywhere on the body. This type of psoriasis can be itchy and painful. It may bleed or crack and scab over. This type of psoriasis tends to flare up after you’ve had a cold or the flu, or when you take certain medications, including steroids.

Pustular psoriasis is less common. It looks like pus-filled bumps surrounded by red skin, and it can be very painful. It’s also associated with other health conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes.

Some people get a mild form of the condition that doesn’t affect 구월동피부과 their daily life. Others have more serious symptoms and need treatment to control their psoriasis. The condition can lead to depression and anxiety, and it can cause a lot of pain and itching, making you want to scratch your skin all the time. It can also make you more likely to develop other autoimmune diseases, such as heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and some types of cancer.

Symptoms

The most common symptom is patches of red, raised skin called plaques. They typically appear on the knees, elbows, scalp, and fingernails. They may itch and hurt. And the scaling can crack and bleed. The scales are usually whitish-silver in color, but they can be brown or purple on darker skin.

There is no cure for psoriasis, but treatment can help control the condition and reduce symptoms. Doctors will recommend creams, ointments, or lotions to put on the skin, and sometimes pills or injections. They can help ease mild to moderate symptoms, and they can also lower the risk of psoriatic arthritis.

Having a family member with the condition increases your risk of getting it yourself, but not everyone does. It’s thought that an overactive immune system speeds up skin cell growth, and the extra cells pile up on the surface of the skin. Normally, the cells completely grow and shed (exfoliate) in about a month. But with psoriasis, they grow and shed in only three or four days.

Some things can trigger a flare-up, such as an infection (like strep throat), a cold, or a bad sunburn. Stress and alcohol can also make symptoms worse. Your doctor may recommend light therapy, or a pill that makes your skin more sensitive to sunlight. This can improve your symptoms, but it’s important not to get too much sun — that could cause a burn or a rash.

Diagnosis

It’s usually easy for your doctor to diagnose psoriasis based on the appearance of your skin. They’ll examine your skin, scalp and nails, and ask if anyone in your family has the condition. They might also take a small sample of your skin (biopsy) and send it to the lab for testing. This is done to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other conditions that can cause similar symptoms.

Most people with psoriasis have plaques on their knees, elbows and scalp, but it can affect any part of the body. It’s also common to have itching, so your doctor will probably ask if you have any other symptoms. Some people have itchy patches that bleed or crack, and some develop tenderness and swelling in their joints (psoriatic arthritis).

You can get this chronic disease at any age, but it typically starts between 15 and 35 years of age. The disease tends to run in families, and you’re more likely to have it if someone in your immediate family has it.

The good news is that a number of treatments are available for people with this condition, and they’re often effective at controlling your symptoms. These include creams and ointments that you put on your skin, light therapy, and oral or injected medications. Some of these can work for only a few months, but others may help for much longer.

Treatment

In psoriasis, your immune system reacts too quickly to new skin cells and creates a thick, scaly patch of skin. These patches can grow anywhere on the body, including your scalp, elbows, knees, and other limbs. They may itch, and your skin might crack and bleed. Most people get psoriasis in early adulthood. It usually runs in families.

You can manage your symptoms with medication and lifestyle changes. Changing your diet to one that’s healthy can help prevent flare-ups. Talk to your doctor about your options.

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and family history, then take a look at your skin. You might need to have a small skin sample (biopsy) checked under a microscope to confirm the diagnosis.

Mild psoriasis is often treated with prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) topical creams, gels, shampoos, ointments, and sprays that you apply directly to your skin. These treatments can minimize itching, redness, and scaling. Your doctor may also prescribe vitamin D analogs (calcipotriene and calcitriol) or tar, and oral medications such as apremilast, methotrexate, cyclosporine, and retinoids. Localized phototherapy — exposing your skin to certain types of ultraviolet light — can treat mild to moderate psoriasis.

Moderate to severe psoriasis is typically treated with systemic therapies such as adalimumab, etanercept, infliximab, certolizumab pegol, and cyclosporine. Biologic immune modifying agents (anti-tumor necrosis factor [TNF] agents adalimumab, golimumab, and infliximab; anti-IL12/IL23 antibodies ustekinumab, secukinumab, and ixekizumab; and a steroid-sparing agent tacrolimus) may also be used.