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Psoriasis is one of the most common dermatological disorders. It is an inflammatory skin disease that can affect different parts of the body such as elbow, knees, scalp and more. The said disorder can affect an individual of any age. Not contagious and most often benign, psoriasis is characterized by the appearance of thick patches of skin which are detached in the form of white scales accompanied by itching and redness. Only about 8% of cases of psoriasis are termed as serious or severe where in it can spread throughout the body or is accompanied by serious complications, particularly rheumatic. In severe cases the disorder can spread to ears or face too. Most cases of psoriasis are pretty harmless but they do affect the quality of life negatively as effect of psoriasis is not really a pleasant sight, also often other people may wrongly assume the condition to be contagious.
What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is often confused with other skin disorders as the symptoms may be identical with many other skin disorders. Skin cell regeneration happens either by normal growth of cells or by growth of cells in case of healing of an injury. In case of normal growth of skin cells the new cells are created at the base of the cell layer and then move through the epidermis to the stratum corneum, the outermost layer of the skin. The dead cells are removed from the skin at the same rate as the new cells appear, thus maintaining a balance. This process takes an average of 28 days. Whereas when the skin is injured, the new cells are produced at a much faster rate, to repair and replace the wounds. There is also an increase in blood flow and localized inflammation. Psoriasis induces a reaction similar to an injury or a stimulus such as an infection. The cells of the skin react as they would to an aggression. A substance wrongly identified by the body as an invader is combated and, after a successful intervention of the immune system, the response of the latter no longer stops. The new cells are created and pushed to the surface at a rate that does not eliminate dead cells. Excessive cells of the skin accumulate and form plaques. The white scales that cover the lesion are composed of dead cells, and the redness of the lesion is due to the blood flow into the area of rapid cell division.
Psoriasis Causes, Types and Symptoms
Although the exact reason or cause for psoriasis is still unknown, it is understood that genetics plays an important factor. However the onset of the condition requires a triggering factor, which can be an abrasion, stress, infection or more. Thus primary cause of psoriasis can be a mixture of genetic, immunological and environmental factors. The most common form of psoriasis is called plaque psoriasis or psoriasis vulgaris, the said type accounts for 90% of cases. There are many other types of psoriasis too such as Psoriasis Drops, Nummular Psoriasis, Psoriasis of Particular locations (Scalp, nails and more) and others. Psoriasis is characterized by skin lesions, which evolve by relapses, with periods of remission, sometimes which are incomplete. These periods of relapses, followed by periods of remissions are accompanied by pain and itching. In psoriasis scalp, elbows, nails, knees, feet and back are the most commonly affected parts. But the whole body can also be affected in severe cases.
Psoriasis Treatment and Cure
Psoriasis induces a reaction similar to an injury or a stimulus such as an infection. Definitively curative drugs for psoriasis are still not available and medical practioners will mostly provide symptomatic treatments for the same. Treatment for psoriasis mostly involves medication along with local area treatment in form of ointment, gel or cream. The most widely used local treatments are cortisone lotions and vitamin D derivatives or a combination of both. Drugs such as methotrexate and ciclosporin are prescribed for oral intake. Phototherapy sessions are effective in a large number of patients. Alternate healing therapies such as biotherapies and homeopathy are also fast gaining popularity for treatment of psoriasis.