Psoriasis is an auto immune disease. It affects 7.5 million Americans and 125 million people worldwide. The body attacks healthy skin cells. It causes skin cells to mature and die in less than a week. This process normally takes up to a month. This causes scaly thick patches of skin or rashes to develop all over the body. As a chronic inflammatory disease it has no cure and can be painful. It affects the joints of your body and can lead to having Psoriatic Arthritis. This disease causes depression, anxiety, and low self esteem in those that have it. I have been suffering from Psoriasis and did not know what it was until just this week. Having a new diagnosis I wanted to find out as much I could about it. There are many different types as well as many different ways to treat it. I would like to share the information I have learned in hopes to help spread awareness and help others get their diagnosis a lot quicker than I did.
What is Psoriasis
Psoriasis affects 125 million people worldwide. Learn the different types and how to treat it.
What Causes Psoriasis?
The exact cause of Psoriasis is unknown. Like so many other diseases where the cause is unknown, it is believed to be linked to genetics and environment. Though the exact cause is unknown there are a few triggers that are known. These are things that are known to either cause your first outbreak of it or cause a flare up if you already have it. If you have a predisposition to have it and are exposed to one of the triggers you may develop Psoriasis.
- Injury to the skin – scratches, scrapes, sunburn
- Medications – Lithium, Antimalarials, Quinidine, Indomethacin
- Strep Infection
My trigger was a strep infection. Lets just say I am 95% sure it was. I developed a really sore throat that lasted over a week and did not go to the doctor. We had just moved into our new home and I did not take the time to go see a doctor. I know I will go to a doctor the next time I am feeling that sick! The untreated strep infection caused the psoriasis to develop all over my body. If you suspect that you may have strep then please get it taken care of at a doctor's office. The psoriasis that can take over your body is much more painful and harder to get rid of than that infection.
Types of Psoriasis
- Scalp – many times it is confused with dandruff. The treatment for both is the same. Half of the people with Psoriasis also have the scalp type.
- Plaque – most common type of Psoriasis. It can develop anywhere on the body. It starts out as small red pumps that spread and turns into dead skin that scales and flakes.
- Inverse – smooth inflamed sores that develop in folds of skin like armpits, under breasts, and in the groin area.
- Erythrodermic – the body's chemical balance is disrupted. Lesions look like severe burns cover the body all over. This is a very painful form. It can cause severe illness.
- Pustular – puss filled blister like lesions that are contained to a small area or can be widespread. Usually a precursor to plaque psoriasis. This type can develop in someone that already has psoriasis.
- Palomar-plantar Pustulosis – pustules form at the base of the heel or thumb. They turn brown and peel.
- Guttate – small red dots form all over the body and enlarge quickly. They eventually turn scaly. It affects the scalp, arms, legs, and torso. This form can clear up on its own or with treatment. Can later appear as plaque psoriasis.
- Nail – the nail bed is affected and the nail can separate from the nail bed. Can have this along with any of the different types.
Picures of Psoriasis
How is Psoriasis Diagnosed?
A Dermatologist is who you need to go see if you suspect you have psoriasis. They can determine if it is indeed psoriasis by visual inspection or by taking a skin biopsy. If a biopsy is done they will examine it under a microscope for abnormal cells. If you have joint problems or pain but no rash you may need to submit blood work to determine if it is psoriasis. My dermatologist told me I had Guttate Psoriasis within 2 seconds of seeing my skin. I had suffered with this rash for almost two weeks before going to see her. It was really unnecessary. My face has never had a blemish or acne at all. This rash covered my face and was really bad around my eyes. Please go see your dermatologist the minute you see a rash starting. Mine had spread all over my body before I decided to go. I now have scars and at least another week or more of waiting for the rash to go away. Early diagnosis and treatment is critical.
The treatment for psoriasis depends on the severity, type of psoriasis, and total body area affected. Most common treatment includes a topical steroid ointment, lotion, or spray. I was prescribed Betamethasone for my face, body, and scalp. If it is severe enough the doctor may prescribe pills or injections.
Some dermatologists will prescribe UV light therapy if large areas of your body are affected. I start my light therapy next week. UVB and UVA light is used in a controlled environment for a set amount of time on a regular schedule. Natural sunlight will also work for small amounts of time on a regular schedule. The UVB light penetrates the skin and slows the growth of affected skin cells. In some cases it may temporarily worsen before it gets better because the skin may get red and itch due to the light. If this is the case, the dermatologist may reduce the amount of UVB light. Please take note that this is not the same as laying in a tanning bed. Tanning beds are not recommended.
Some very good home remedies include coconut oil and olive oil. There are many others that are talked about but I can not testify to the others. I can however say that both coconut oil and olive oil have both helped my rashes tremendously. I have even used both in my head for scalp treatment and I believe they worked better than the liquid Betamethasone and Tgel shampoo that was prescribed. If you have psoriasis then you have to try these. It is better to apply them at night before going to bed because you will be very oily. Positive results from both! You have to try it.
Psoriasis has been linked to psoriatic arthritis. Many people will get psoriatic arthritis after an outbreak of psoriasis on their body. If you have joint pain along with or after an outbreak of psoriasis you should let your doctor know. Approximately 30% of people who have psoriasis will develop arthritis. It causes pain, stiffness, and swelling in and around the joints. It is more common between the ages of 30 and 50. Early diagnosis and treatment is very critical.
Doctors are not sure exactly what causes psoriasis so it is very difficult to prevent it. The focus is on reducing the number of occurrences and the severity of an outbreak. Know what your triggers are and avoid them. Also, keep your skin moisturized. Especially if you have an outbreak. Avoid prolonged sun exposure, alcohol, and cigarettes. These things will make your psoriasis worse.
What Works for You?
Please do not hesitate to share what works to reduce your psoriasis outbreaks or anything that helps to sooth it or makes it go away. I am now one of the millions of Americans with this disease. It makes you want to stay in your house and not go anywhere. It is not contagious but when others see you they stare and are scared they are going to catch something from you. No one should have to live like that. I am slowly recovering from my initial outbreak and hope to be rid of this soon. Though I will never be rid of this for good, I want to do everything possible to keep from having another outbreak. I wish all of you that live with this the best of luck in your fight.
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