What Is Psoriasis?
Evidence strongly suggests that psoriasis is an immune system disorder.
What Does Psoriasis Look And Feel Like?
While every skin condition can present differently from person to person, psoriasis could be broadly described as a common skin disorder characterised by patches of skin called ‘plaques’, symmetrically distributed, reddened, scaly, and usually well-defined edges. The scale is typically silvery white except in skin folds where they can appear shiny and may have a moist peeling surface. A plaque can be raised, or just thickened without rising above the skin’s surface. Itching is common, and painful skin cracks or fissures can also occur.
When the plaques pass away, brown or pale marks can remain, tending to fade over several months.
Psoriasis can occur at any age but onset appears to peak in two age ranges: 15–25 year-olds and 50–60 year-olds. It can affect people of any race and between 2-4% of males and females.
What are the causes of Psoriasis?
Still largely unknown, genetics is thought to play a strong part; about one-third of patients with psoriasis have affected family members.
There are varying elements which influence your body’s response and subsequently, your symptoms. Lifestyle factors like smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and obesity can have a marked effect on your outcome and the treatment required; another reason to seek early expert consultation.
What Makes Psoriasis Flare Up?
Aggravating factors include:
- Injuries such as cuts, abrasions, sunburn
- Infections, notably Streptococcal Tonsillitis
- Excessive alcohol
- Certain medications
- Discontinuation of oral steroids or strong topical corticosteroids.
- Sun exposure (only in about 10% of cases - the sun is usually beneficial)
Other health conditions regularly feature alongside psoriasis including, inflammatory bowel disorders, eye inflammation, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, gout, heart disease, Type II Diabetes and pustule crops on various body parts.
How Can I Be Certain I Have Psoriasis?
Skin Centre’s extremely well-regarded dermatologists have a reputation for excellence in their field. Along with their expert team of registered nurses, they offer thorough patient education - patients who are well-informed are likely to achieve the best result.
Our specialised dermatologists will diagnose your condition following a meticulous examination and consultation. If necessary, they’ll obtain a skin biopsy to support their findings.
Your initial consultation is critical for an effective personal treatment plan, so expect your appointment to contain a diligent exploration of your health history, how your symptoms affect daily life, and an evaluation of exacerbating factors.
How Can I Manage or Treat My Psoriasis?
Without treatment, psoriasis is usually very persistent.
Mild psoriasis is usually treated with topical agents alone. The medicine selected will depend on location, size and severity.
Moderate to severe psoriasis warrants treatment with systemic (usually oral) medications and phototherapy.
Severe cases, especially those who’ve shown resistance to other treatments may be treated with ‘targeted therapies’.
What Are Some Common Treatments?
Medicated solutions to the skin have a range of desired effects: soothing and softening irritated skin, shedding dead cells and slowing excessive regrowth to decrease scaling and dryness, decreasing inflammation by suppressing immune responses.
Most psoriasis clinics offer phototherapy with ultraviolet radiation (UV rays), often in combination with topical or oral medications.
Taken orally, systemic agents module certain responses from our immune system, reducing inflammation and speed of skin cell regrowth.
Biologics, sometimes referred to as ‘targeted therapies’, are usually reserved for treatment resistant cases. The drugs used are designed to interfere with specific parts of the body's immune system to treat and prevent immune-related inflammation.