Find out what psoriasis is, what causes it and which are the symptoms
Psoriasis is a very persistent autoimmune skin disorder that usually develops on the scalp, elbows and knees. In some cases, it can occur on almost any part of the body. When a person suffers from psoriasis, the growth of his skin cells can be even 10 times faster than usual, causing red, scaly plaques.
There are many different types of psoriasis and the symptoms can vary from one type to another. The most common type is plaque psoriasis, which usually comes with the following symptoms:
- The occurrence of red patches, covered with white scales. In the more serious cases, the plaque can cover very large areas of your body.
- The patches are usually painful and itchy, and in some cases they can even bleed.
- The toenails and fingernails may also be affected by discoloration and crumbling.
Some psoriasis patients also suffer from psoriatic arthritis (joint inflammation), which usually occurs in about ten years after developing psoriasis.
Studies have shown that psoriasis is caused by a malfunction of the immune system. However, there are many different factors that can trigger outbursts.
- Stress is one of the most common triggers, as almost 80% of psoriasis patients report they had outbursts after a stressful situation, like a death in the family, losing a job, or getting a new job.
- Certain drugs can also trigger psoriasis flare-ups — for example heart medications or antimalarial drugs.
- Skin injuries, infections (especially streptococcal infection) and skin dryness are also associated with psoriasis flare-ups.
- Some specialists believe that certain vices can cause psoriasis outbursts. Excessive alcohol consumption and smoking can aggravate the symptoms and also make the treatment difficult.
- Heredity might also be a determining factor. It seems that psoriasis can be inherited from relatives, but it usually skips one generation. Therefore if one of your parents suffers from this condition, it does not necessarily mean that you will develop it as well.