The following information is from the National Institute of Health website1.
How Does Psoriasis Affect Quality of Life?
Individuals with psoriasis may experience significant physical discomfort and some disability. Itching and pain can interfere with basic functions, such as self-care, walking, and sleep. Plaques on hands and feet can prevent individuals from working at certain occupations, laying some sports, and caring for family members or a home. The frequency of medical care is costly and can interfere with an employment or school schedule. People with moderate to severe psoriasis may feel self-conscious about their appearance and have poor self-image that stems from fear of public rejection and psychosexual concerns. Psychological distress can lead to significant depression and social isolation.
What Causes Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a skin disorder driven by the immune system, especially involving a type of white blood cell called a T cell. Normally, T cells help protect the body against infection and disease. In the case of psoriasis, T cells are put into action by mistake and become so active that they trigger other immune responses, which lead to inflammation and to rapid turnover of skin cells.
In many cases, there is a family history of psoriasis. Researchers have studied a large number of families affected by psoriasis and identified genes linked to the disease. Genes govern every bodily function and determine the inherited traits passed from parent to child.
People with psoriasis may notice that there are times when their skin worsens, called flares, then improves. Conditions that may cause flares include infections, stress, and changes in climate that dry the skin. Also, certain medicines, beta-blockers, which are prescribed for high blood pressure, and lithium may trigger an outbreak or worsen the disease.
How Is Psoriasis Diagnosed?
Occasionally, doctors may find it difficult to diagnose psoriasis, because it often looks like other skin diseases. It may be necessary to confirm a diagnosis by examining a small skin sample under a microscope.
There are several forms of psoriasis. Some of these include:
Plaque psoriasis. Skin lesions are red at the base and covered by silvery scales.
Guttate psoriasis. Small, drop-shaped lesions appear on the trunk, limbs, and scalp. Guttate psoriasis is most often triggered by upper respiratory infections (for example, a sore throat caused by streptococcal bacteria).
Pustular psoriasis. Blisters of noninfectious pus appear on the skin. Attacks of pustular psoriasis may be triggered by medications, infections, stress, or exposure to certain chemicals.
Inverse psoriasis. Smooth, red patches occur in the folds of the skin near the genital, under the breasts, or in the armpits. The symptoms may be worsened by friction and sweating.
Erythrodermic psoriasis. Widespread reddening and scaling of the skin may be a reaction to severe sunburn or to taking corticosteroids (cortisone) or other medications. It can also be caused by a prolonged period of increased activity of psoriasis that is poorly controlled.
Another condition in which people may experience psoriasis is psoriatic arthritis. This is a form of arthritis that produces the joint inflammation common in arthritis and the lesions common in psoriasis. The joint inflammation and the skin lesions don't necessarily have to occur at the same time.
The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the FDA. The information provided is intended to help you better understand the different treatments for the symptoms of psoriasis, eczema and seborrheic dermatitis. We attempt to provide you with accurate and current information, but make no guarantees or representations to its accuracy or completeness. Always consult your physician or other health care provider concerning your health care related questions or before starting any new health care regime. Inclusion on this website of information from others or links to other websites does not constitute the endorsement by Ontos, Inc. of the content of such other sources, nor an endorsement by those entities of the products or representation of Ontos, Inc.