Monday, April 23, 2012
Health Care and Psoriasis
According to SkinCarePhysicians.com, Psoriasis (sore-EYE-ah-sis) is a medical condition that occurs when skin cells grow too quickly. Faulty signals in the immune system cause new skin cells to form in days rather than weeks. The body does not shed these excess skin cells, so the cells pile up on the surface of the skin and lesions form.
The lesions vary in appearance with the type of psoriasis. There are five types of psoriasis: Plaque, guttate, pustular, inverse, and erythrodermic. About 80% of people living with psoriasis have plaque (plak) psoriasis, also called “psoriasis vulgaris.” Plaque psoriasis causes patches of thick, scaly skin that may be white, silvery, or red. Called plaques (plax), these patches can develop anywhere on the skin. The most common areas to find plaques are the elbows, knees, lower back, and scalp.
Psoriasis also can affect the nails. About 50% of people who develop psoriasis see changes in their fingernails and/or toenails. If the nails begin to pull away from the nail bed or develop pitting, ridges, or a yellowish-orange color, this could be a sign of psoriatic arthritis. Without treatment, psoriatic arthritis can progress and become debilitating. It is important to see a dermatologist if nail changes begin or joint pain develops. Early treatment can prevent joint deterioration.
Psoriasis is very common. Anyone can get it, but it most commonly begins between ages 15 and 35, according to the National Institutes for Health (NIH). The following may trigger an attack of psoriasis or make the condition more difficult to treat:
• Bacteria or viral infections, including strep throat and upper respiratory infections
• Dry air or dry skin
• Injury to the skin, including cuts, burns, and insect bites
• Some medicines, including antimalaria drugs, beta-blockers, and lithium
• Too little sunlight
• Too much sunlight (sunburn)
• Too much alcohol
Psoriasis can appear suddenly or slowly. Many times, it goes away and then comes back again and again. Symptoms include:
• Irritated, red, flaky patches of skin
• Most often seen on the elbows, knees, and middle of the body
• Red patches may appear anywhere on the body, including the scalp
The skin may be:
• Dry and covered with silver, flaky skin (scales)
• Pink-red in color (like the color of salmon)
• Raised and thick
Other symptoms may include:
• Genital lesions in males
• Joint pain or aching
• Nail changes, including thick nails, yellow-brown nails, dents in the nail, and nail lifts off from the skin underneath
• Severe dandruff on the scalp
Much more detail can be found at this site: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001470/ .
Treating your psoriasis is critical to good disease management and overall health, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. Work with your doctor to find a treatment—or treatments—that reduce or eliminate your symptoms. What works for one person with psoriasis might not work for another. So it's important to know the different treatment options and keep trying until you find the right regimen for you. People with psoriasis on less than three percent of their body are considered to have a mild case. Those with three to 10 percent of the body affected by psoriasis are considered a moderate case. More than 10 percent is considered severe. (The surface area of the hand equals about one percent of the skin.) Significant details about this dermatologic condition and treatment can be found at this site: http://www.psoriasis.org/i-have-psoriasis .
In the United States, nearly 7.5 million people have psoriasis and about 150,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, according to SkinCarePhysicians.com. Studies indicate that psoriasis develops about equally in males and females. Research also shows that Caucasians develop psoriasis more frequently than other races. A study conducted in the United States found the prevalence was 2.5% in Caucasians and 1.3% in African Americans. A family history of psoriasis seems to increase the risk of developing psoriasis. It is important to know that a family history of psoriasis does not guarantee that someone will develop psoriasis.
For some people, psoriasis is a nuisance. Others find that psoriasis affects every aspect of their daily life. The unpredictable nature of psoriasis may be the reason. Psoriasis is a chronic (lifelong) medical condition. Some people have frequent flare-ups that occur weekly or monthly. Others have occasional flare-ups. When psoriasis flares, it can cause severe itching and pain. Sometimes the skin cracks and bleeds. When trying to sleep, cracking and bleeding skin can wake a person frequently and cause sleep deprivation. A lack of sleep can make it difficult to focus at school or work. Sometimes a flare-up requires a visit to a dermatologist for additional treatment. Time must be taken from school or work to visit the doctor and get treatment.
These cycles of flare-ups and remissions often lead to feelings of sadness, despair, guilt and anger as well as low self-esteem. Depression is higher in people who have psoriasis than in the general population. Feelings of embarrassment also are common. As psoriasis is a life-long condition, it is important to take an active role in managing it. Learning more about psoriasis, seeing a dermatologist to discuss treatment options, and developing a healthy lifestyle can help people live life to the fullest.
Thanks to ongoing research, there are many treatments for psoriasis. It is important to work with a dermatologist to find treatment that works for you and fits your lifestyle. Every treatment has benefits, drawbacks, and possible side effects, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). Before you see a dermatologist for treatment, it helps to know about the treatment options. This knowledge will help you work with your dermatologist to create a treatment plan that is right for you.
For helpful tips on managing psoriasis, visit this site: http://www.aad.org/skin-conditions/dermatology-a-to-z/psoriasis/tips/psoriasis-tips-for-managing .
Until next time.