Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin condition

It affects about 2-3% of the UK population. It can manifest itself during childhood or teenage years, but it can also appear for the first time in people of all ages, including the elderly.

Psoriasis suffers a remitting and relapsing course over time. In some instances it can completely go away for a while, but it can always recur

The characteristic lesions of psoriasis are thick red plaques of skin with overlying thick silvery scale. Contrary to popular believe, it can be itchy.

Classical psoriasis usually affects the elbows, knees, buttocks and scalp. However, psoriasis can affect other areas of the body like the nails, face, ears, underarms, groins, and genitalia, between the buttocks, around the umbilicus, palms of the hands and soles of the feet.

Psoriasis is a multifactorial condition with a genetic basis. This means that you need to inherit a genetic predisposition to it.

For psoriasis to manifest itself, you also need trigger factors. These are very varied, and include stress, skin trauma, some medications, certain infections (like Streptococcal throat infections), alcohol and smoking.

Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition. This means there is a dysregulation of the immune system that causes the epidermal cells to multiply up to 7 times faster. Normal epidermal cells form and mature in about 28 days and then shed off. This is a natural process and we are unaware of it. However, in psoriasis epidermal cells renew themselves as fast as every 3-4 days. This means they don’t mature and differentiate properly, and therefore build up on the surface of the skin causing scaling and shedding in thick lumps. The immune system then produces an inflammatory response causing the lesions and symptoms to occur.
There are many different types of psoriasis depending on the type and extent of the lesions. Some of the most common ones are thick plaque, small plaque, guttate, scalp,nails, flexural, genital, facial, palms and soles. Rarer types, like generalised pustular psoriasis, can be more serious and make patients very ill.

Psoriasis can also be associated with a type of arthritis called psoriatic arthritis. This can happen in up to 30% pf patients with psoriasis. Nail psoriasis can be a positive indicator.

It is important to diagnose psoriasis promptly and accurately. As for eczema, there is currently no cure for psoriasis. However, we can control it very successfully with the right combination of treatments. This can include topical treatments (cream based), phototherapy (light treatments), systemic treatments (tablet form) or even injectables (biologics).

Psoriasis can cause a lot of suffering, discomfort, misery and embarrassment to patients, and severely impair their quality of life.

Help is at hand. Book a consultation to discuss your specific problems.

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