Psoriasis is an autoimmune skin condition that is caused by the rapid growth of skin cells and in turn causes dry, itchy, flaky and occasionally small painful tears and bumps on the skin
Although it is a very common condition, psoriasis is often mistaken for a bad rash, an allergic reaction or eczema.
Psoriasis is often misdiagnosed
A common cause of misdiagnosis is that other skin conditions present similar symptoms. Knowing the differences ranging from the shape of the borders of the affected areas, the colour, the thickness of the scales and triggers, could help identify psoriasis.
Symptoms of psoriasis vary depending on the type of psoriasis you may have, and could include:
- itchy and painful scales on the skin that can sometimes crack and bleed in severe cases
- small pink-spots on the skin, that largely appear on the torso, arms and legs
- white, pus-filled blisters and wide areas of red, inflamed skin, that traditionally appears in smaller areas of the body, such as the hands and or feet, but can appear in other areas
- bright areas of red, shiny, inflamed skin, that develops under armpits or breasts, the groin and around skinfold in the genitals
It is important to understand that psoriasis often involves other parts of the body as well; it is associated with type II diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, depression and it is therefore important that your psoriasis gets diagnosed so that full check-up and treatment can be done.
It’s in the genes
Genetic factors could make you more likely to develop psoriasis due to a trigger like stress, infections or certain medicines. Yet, triggers are not the same for every patient and some triggers may change over time. For instance, unusually high stress may trigger a flare-up in some, while some patients have previously disclosed that they have experienced a psoriasis attack after heavy alcohol consumption. Learning to reduce and manage stress may reduce or possibly prevent an attack for some while managing alcohol consumption or completely cutting alcohol has significantly reduced flare-ups for others.
Is there a cure?
Managing triggers will not cure psoriasis. Treatment of mild psoriasis is often topical treatments like creams and ointments, as well as UV light. More severe psoriasis usually requires what is called systemic treatment – like tablets or injections. If the psoriasis is severe enough or not responding to other treatments, biologics may need to be considered. These are injections that work on the immune system and moderates the inflammation that is causing the symptoms in psoriasis.
Given the complexity and potential broader health implications; if you are concerned that you might have psoriasis, please see your doctor. Often the earlier treatment is started, the easier it is to control.
While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.