What Is Psoriasis?
In general, psoriasis is believed to be a genetically linked disorder in which the body will overproduce skin cells, leading to inflammation, swelling and general discomfort.(1) There are medications available (most of which are steriods), but can often be ineffective. So what is psoriasis? There is more than one kind of psoriasis, each with varying degrees of severity.(1)
Psoriasis causes patches of skin to become inflamed (the size varies from person to person). Often these patches are red, irritable and can be itchy or cause a burning sensation.(2) This type can be known as plaque psoriasis. These patches can be found on elbows and knees, but can also be found all over the body. Often, when the plaques erupt on the joints, fissures can occur where the skin splits and can bleed. This makes the skin more susceptible to infections and more inflammation is caused, and should be tended to immediately. Plaque psoriasis is also a chronic infection that can be triggered by any kind of skin irritation like sunburns, excessive itching, smoking and even alcoholism. Any kind of injury to the skin can also lead to an outbreak of plaque psoriasis.(1)
This kind of psoriasis is believed to be triggered by a streptococcal infection; however, how this occurs still requires further research. Guttate is noted for its fine, small drop-like lesions, that like plaque psoriasis, can be itchy and uncomfortable.(3) Often, this kind of psoriasis will clear up on its own without the need for medication. Guttate psoriasis can become chronic and those with plaque psoriasis can have outbreaks of guttate psoriasis. Guttate outbreaks can also occur easily after upper respiratory infections.
This is classified as pustular psoriasis because the raised, scaly patches during an outbreak have elevated, white bumps that are filled with pus (which is a fluid composed of white blood cells). This kind of psoriasis can be chronic (long-term), acute (short term, one-time flair up, subacute, or somewhere in between. Sometimes this kind of psoriasis can produce systematic symptoms that include fever and a generalized feeling of illness. This kind of psoriasis is also exceedingly rare, and mostly affects those over the age of fifty.
Different than other types of psoriasis, this kind affects the entire surface of the body. However, this kind of psoriasis has more dangerous symptoms than itchiness or redness.(3) Erthrodermic psoriasis is often accompanied by swelling and fluid retention. As a result, the body’s mechanisms for temperature regulation are thrown off, leading to periods of intense shivering. Fluid retention also adversely effects circulation and if left alone, can lead to congestive heart failure. This kind of psoriasis should be attended to by a physician. It is also noted by shedding of the skin and extreme pain, and is linked to unstable plaque psoriasis.
This kind of psoriasis is found in uncommon places on the body, and often are in the folds of the skin (armpit, breasts, knees, fat folds). This can be a problem especially for those that are overweight. This kind is similar to plaque psoriasis in that the symptoms are dry, scaly skin. Inverse psoriasis outbreaks can appear incredibly smooth.(4)
(1) – https://www.healthline.com/health/psoriasis
(2) – https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/314478
(3) – https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis
(4) – https://www.healthline.com/health/inverse-psoriasis