Causes and signs of psoriasis

examination of psoriasis by a doctor

Psoriasis- a disease that occurs with the appearance of a rash in the form of pink plaques with silver scales, often accompanied by itching. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg. At the heart of the disease there are no fully understood processes.

Psoriasis is a mysterious enemy

In psoriasis, skin cells start dividing 6 to 10 times faster than they should. This leads to chronic skin inflammation and peeling.

Scientists have been studying psoriasis for many decades, but there is no clear answer to the question "Why does psoriasis appear? " Modern science still does not. This disease is not contagious, but it can be inherited. Exacerbations can provoke a variety of external and internal factors: stress, skin trauma, use of certain drugs (usually antibiotics), alcohol abuse, infectious diseases (caused by streptococcus, viruses), etc.

Manifestations of psoriasis are diverse: the surface of the lesion can be dry or weeping, various parts of the body can be affected. Some patients have knees and elbows, others have palms and soles of the feet, and others have large folds of skin or mucous membranes or nails. Sometimes psoriasis affects a very large area of the body, sometimes it is localized only in limited areas and never spreads further.

Without exaggerating, we can say that psoriasis is one of the most mysterious diseases. Scientists have already figured out what exactly happens in the body of a psoriasis patient and how to alleviate her condition, but it is unclear what causes these pathological changes and how they can be prevented.

Winston Churchill struggled with psoriasis all his life and promised to erect a golden monument to a doctor who would solve the riddle of this disease and find an effective treatment. Unfortunately, the prize never found its owner.

Why does psoriasis appear?

Science does not know the exact reasons, however, in the years of studying the problem, several hypotheses have been formed:

  • autoimmune theory. It is about the increase in the concentration of T lymphocytes, which leads to constant inflammation of the affected area of the skin. The body seems to begin to perceive its own skin as an aggressor.
  • Hereditary theory explaining psoriasis as a DNA defect.
  • Endocrine theory, according to which psoriasis occurs due to disturbances in the functioning of the endocrine system, especially the pituitary and thyroid gland.
  • Exchange theory Scientists have found that patients with psoriasis have problems with lipid and nitrogen metabolism, as well as an increase in the content of toxins in the body.

All these theories have a right to exist, but so far none of them have been fully proven. Therefore, the modern treatment of psoriasis is aimed at reducing the severity of symptoms, reducing the recurrence of the disease and the general improvement of the body.

Symptoms similar to those of psoriasis were described in detail in ancient Roman medical treatises. However, in those days, psoriasis was often confused with other skin diseases of completely different origin. For the first time, psoriasis was recognized as an independent disease only in 1799, and as a non-infectious pathology only at the end of the 19th century.

Who is affected?

Psoriasis does not distinguish between the sexes: both women and men are equally often affected by it. Psoriasis usually appears at a young age - the peak occurs at 15-25 years. However, if you did not have psoriasis in your youth, this does not mean that the danger has passed - sometimes the first manifestation of psoriasis appears at the age of around 50-60 years. The good news is that people who develop psoriasis later in life experience less severe psoriasis. According to the WHO, if one parent has psoriasis, the risk of developing the disease in a child is about 14% and, if both, 41%. However, children of parents who have never experienced this discomfort also suffer from psoriasis. According to statistics, psoriasis most often affects people with thin, fair and dry skin.

The first symptoms of the disease

Psoriasis begins imperceptibly: at the first stage of development, the disease affects small areas of the skin, usually on the folds of the limbs, on the scalp and along the hairline. Sometimes the first manifestations of psoriasis occur at the site of constant mechanical irritation of the skin, in other words, where clothing presses and rubs. First, a person experiences itching and a feeling of tightness of the skin, then small raised islands of red, scaly skin appear. On these spots appear gray flakes of dead skin, similar to flakes of wax, which separate easily. Sometimes such plaques get wet, lamellar scales of yellowish color are formed on their surface. When the latter are removed, a weeping, bleeding surface is exposed. Gradually, the plaques grow and merge with each other, affecting increasingly large areas of the skin.

Signs of psoriasis of different types

There are several types of psoriasis:

  • seborrheic psoriasis. Most often it occurs on the scalp. Manifested by itching and peeling, it spreads to the area behind the ears and to the skin along the hairline.
  • exudative psoriasis. With this type of psoriasis, the affected areas of the skin not only flake off, but also get wet, and yellowish crusts (rash nodules) appear on the surface of the papules.
  • Intertriginous psoriasis. More typical for children. In this type of psoriasis, the plaques are bright red in color with little or no flaking. Sometimes the plates are wet. Parents often confuse this type of psoriasis with diaper rash.
  • plantar psoriasis. It occurs on the soles of the feet and palms of the hands. It manifests itself with thickening of the skin, dryness, cracking.
  • Chronic psoriasis is manifested by large plaques that do not disappear for a long time, sometimes neoplasms appear - warts and papillomas.
  • Rupioid psoriasis is a form of chronic psoriasis. Scabs appear on the plaques and gradually the plaque becomes higher, taking the shape of a cone.
  • Guttate psoriasis is characterized by a profuse rash consisting of many small papules.
  • Psoriasis of the nails (psoriatic onychia) causes deformation of the nails, the appearance of yellow-brown spots under them. A common type of psoriasis, which occurs in 25% of patients with this disease.
  • Mucosal psoriasis affects the oral cavity and causes papules to appear on the mucous membranes.

The frequency of psoriatic manifestations

The course of psoriasis is cyclical. In the progressive stage, itchy plaques or a small rash appear, which gradually merge into one spot. After 1-4 weeks, the spread of the plaques stops, they are covered with silver scales. This is the so-called stationary stage. A regressive phase follows, in which the plaques gradually disappear. However, don't be fooled - this by no means means the recovery has come. If psoriasis is not treated, everything will repeat itself from the beginning and after a while the stages will begin to change constantly and exacerbations will become almost monthly.

Psoriasis can and should be treated. If measures are not taken in time, psoriasis will quickly turn into a chronic stage and it will be extremely difficult to get rid of it. For the treatment of psoriasis today, medical methods, physiotherapy and local remedies for external use are used - ointments and creams for psoriasis, the effectiveness of which is quite high.

However, it should be noted that before you start using any psoriasis remedy, you should consult with your doctor. At least because a non-specialist cannot make a diagnosis on his own.