Plaque psoriasis is a common skin ailment with over three million new cases reported annually. It’s a genetic systemic inflammatory immune dysfunction that causes inflamed skin, scaling and abnormal plaque buildup. About 7.5 million people in the U.S. have psoriasis, and 80 percent of these people have the plaque psoriasis type, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
There are many different forms of psoriasis but plaque psoriasis is the most common, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. While there is no cure for this ailment it can be controlled and managed. That’s why it’s important to have a good understanding of the condition.
Signs of Plaque Psoriasis
Determining whether you have may plaque psoriasis can be a challenge because it can look similar to other common skin disorders. However, a typical sign that you are affected by this skin ailment is that you may notice a red rash started to develop on the skin. Your skin may even start to become extremely dry and as a result, will begin to flake and peel. What many don’t know is that psoriasis doesn’t just affect the skin, but it also can make other areas of the body painful specifically the tendons or joints.
Plaque Psoriasis Symptoms
You can expect signs and symptoms to vary according to the individual. In fact, not everyone dealing with psoriasis experience the same symptoms. Symptoms can be mild or severe all depending on the person. General characteristics consist of small, red scaly bumps that start to appear on the skin.
Additional common signs include:
- Inflamed lesions
- Cracked and bleeding skin
- Skin soreness, itching, burning
- Scaly, silvery plaques
- Swollen joints
- Ridged nails
Plaque Psoriasis Common Places
Plaque psoriasis appears in various areas of the body. Common areas you’ll see it develop is the torso, elbows, arms, scalp and knees. Feet, hands, genitals and skin folds are other areas of the body psoriasis can develop. In severe cases, the patient’s entire skin surface is covered.
At some point, individuals suffering from plaque psoriasis can they’re fingernails and toes to be affected. When this happens the finger nails and toenails will get discolored, the nail may even start to detach from the bed.
What Causes Plaque Psoriasis ?
The exact cause of plaque psoriasis has yet to be discovered by medical professionals. As an autoimmune disease, psoriasis occurs when the skin cells start to reproduce at a rapid rate usually ten times faster than what is normal. The rapid skin cell production causes the cells to rise up to the surface of the skin where they tend to pile up.
While anyone can develop psoriasis, according to scientists, some individuals are predisposed to plaque psoriasis due to the genetics that they inherit. Therefore, if you have a family member who has psoriasis the chances of developing this disorder increases.
There are additional factors that can contribute to the development of plaque psoriasis which includes:
- Viral Infections. People with viral and bacterial infections can develop psoriasis due to an unhealthy immune system. Individuals with HIV are more likely to have plaque psoriasis than people without the disease. Also, children and young adults with recurrent infections like strep throat have an increased risk of having psoriasis.
- Obesity. Excess weight can increase an individual’s chances of developing psoriasis since skin lesions can easily develop in the folds and creases of the skin.
- Stress. High levels of stress have a big impact on the immune system. Therefore, high levels of stress can potentially cause psoriasis.
- Smoking. Tobacco products can also be responsible for the initial development of the skin condition. It also increases the severity of individuals suffering from it.
Best Treatment for Plaque Psoriasis
Plaque psoriasis is a chronic disease in which there is no cure for however it can be managed with treatment. Treatment options aim to slow down skin cell reproduction, remove scales and to soothe the pain. Physicians treat plaque psoriasis with:
- Topical Ointments. Topical ointments with and without steroids are prescribed to reduce inflammation and skin cell regrowth. In mild cases, you might find success using over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams.
- Medication. Prescription drugs in the form of biologics and/or systemic drugs may be prescribed to patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis when other forms of treatment don’t work. They can be in oral or intravenous forms.
- Phototherapy. Phototherapy exposes the affected skin to ultraviolet light on a regular basis. This treatment option works by slowing down the growth of skin cells.
How to Prevent Plaque Psoriasis
Individuals suffering from plaque psoriasis will experience periods of remissions when the skin condition is successfully managed. The key to preventing flare-ups is to know what triggers your body. Here are some tips to prevent flare-ups:
- Keep stress levels to a minimum.
- Avoid consuming specific foods that trigger your plaque psoriasis.
- Investigate the side effects of all the medications you take because some medicines include ingredients that can trigger your psoriasis.
- Avoid getting a sunburn, though controlled sunlight may be beneficial to the disease.
- Avoid picking at scales.
Because dermatologists specialize in treating the skin, working with a board-certified dermatologist can help you more positively manage your condition.