What causes Psoriasis
Who is at risk of Psoriasis
What are the symptoms of Psoriasis
Skin affected by psoriasis tends to be pink or red with silvery-white scales. Some people may suffer from several plaques covering large areas of the body. The condition can be itchy and painful, particularly if it affects the scalp and groin areas. It often affects the nails too and it can be painful lifting the nail from the nail bed. Painful cracks may develop on hands and feet if they are affected by psoriasis. Psoriatic arthritis sufferers may experience pain, swelling and stiffness in joints.
There are four patterns of the condition that are recognised including:
- Chronic plaque psoriasis which affects the knees, elbows, torso and scalp.
- Guttate psoriasis which are small plaques of the condition scattered over the torso and limbs.
- Palmoplantar psoriasis which affects the hands and feet.
- Pustular psoriasis which affects the torso and limbs with tiny pus spots.
Images of Psoriasis
These images are kindly provided by DermNetNZ.org for non-commercial use, for the purpose of education and information. The images have not been modified and DermNetNZ do not endorse The London Skin and Hair Clinic. You can find a copy of the license at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/nz/.
How is Psoriasis diagnosed?
How do you treat Psoriasis
There is no cure for psoriasis so psoriasis treatment aims to manage the condition. There are many effective treatments to clear the lesions and control symptoms. Psoriasis treatment depends on your individual circumstances and severity of your condition. Topical treatments include creams, ointments, gels and lotions such as corticosteroids, calcipotriol, tazarotene, coal tar and dithranol, which your Dermatologist will prescribe you. For those with more extensive psoriasis, phototherapy (a light treatment), systemic (tablet) treatment or biologics (injectable treatment) may be required.
Ultraviolet (UV) phototherapy is a treatment using two types of ultraviolet light (narrowband UVB and PUVA) in a way to treat psoriasis effectively. The treatment will usually take about 8-10 weeks with frequent sessions each week. Phototherapy will keep psoriasis away for a period after treatment.
There are systemic (tablet) treatments such as methotrexate, acitretin, ciclosporin which are prescribed by a Dermatologist and monitored often with blood tests required on a regular basis.
Biologics (injectable treatment) are a newer form of treatment that while expensive, can give excellent results as a treatment for managing psoriasis. These are either administered by injection from a Dermatologist or Dermatology nurse, or there are home injection versions available. Blood tests are often required to monitor during treatment. Current available biologics include etanercept, adalimumab, infliximab, ustekinumab, secukinumab and ixekizumab.
You can discuss treatment options in a consultation with a Dermatologist to determine the most suitable options for you.
The Dermatologist will encourage you to adopt a healthy lifestyle, exercise regularly, stop smoking and reduce excess alcohol as these can all help manage the severity of the psoriasis.
As Psoriasis effects the physical appearance, patients can suffer from depression and anxiety and patients may avoid activities such as swimming or outdoor sports from embarrassment, so it is important that the psychological and emotional impacts of psoriasis are also addressed. There are a number of very good patient support groups that a Dermatologist can direct you to for support.