skin problems and diseases

Psoriasis. Types, causes, symptoms and signs, diagnosis and treatment of the disease.

Content of the article:

  • Types of psoriasis
  • Causes of psoriasis
  • Factors that contribute to the development of psoriasis
  • What are the symptoms and signs of psoriasis?
  • What do skin rashes look like in psoriasis?
  • What do nail lesions look like in psoriasis?
  • Is psoriasis contagious?
  • How to treat psoriasis?

Psoriasis or scaly lichen is a chronic disease that affects the skin and its appendages: nails and hair. It is characterized by periods of deterioration (relapses) and temporary well-being, when the manifestations of the disease become less. This disease is not infectious and the patient is not dangerous to others. Because the appearance of psoriasis is not associated with microorganisms.

Psoriasis most often occurs at the age of 15-45 years. People with fair skin are more susceptible to it. In developed countries, the number of patients with psoriasis reaches 2-4% of the population. It affects every 25-th inhabitant of the earth on all continents.

A huge number of medical institutions deal with this problem. Therefore, psoriasis was recognized as the most studied disease. But still, this disease is not fully understood. Officially, it is considered incurable and raises many questions.

Psoriasis is caused by the body’s own immune cells. They rise from the lower layers of the skin to the upper ones, causing inflammation, the growth of epidermal cells and the formation of small capillaries.

The manifestations of psoriasis on the skin are quite diverse. Most often, the disease causes the appearance of red spots-psoriatic plaques. They are dry to the touch, rise above the surface of the skin and are covered with a white coating

Types of psoriasis

The disease is divided into two large groups: pustular and non-pustular psoriasis.

  • Nonpustular psoriasis
  • ordinary (vulgar) or simple psoriasis (plaque psoriasis, chronic stable psoriasis
  • psoriatic erythroderma or erythrodermic psoriasis
  • Pustular psoriasis
    pustular psoriasis palmoplantar psoriasis (pustular psoriasis of the extremities, chronic.
  • Additionally, the following types of psoriasis are
  • seborrheic-like psoriasis
  • psoriasis of the flexor surfaces and skin folds
  • psoriasis caused by medications
    According to the degree of severity, such forms of psoriasis are distinguished
    Light – less than 3% of the skin is affected.
    Moderate severity-3-10% of the skin is covered with psoriatic plaques.
    Severe-there are joint lesions or more than 10% of the skin is involved.

Causes of psoriasis

To date, there is no clear answer to the question: “why does psoriasis appear?”. Scientists have put forward several theories.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease. It is based on a malfunction of the immune system.

Immune cells T-killers and T-helpers, whose function is to protect the body from viruses, bacteria and tumor cells, for some reason penetrate the upper layers of the skin. Here they produce inflammatory mediators-substances that “trigger” the inflammatory response. Its result is an increased division of skin cells and their reproduction (proliferation).

Psoriasis is a disease that is caused by a violation of the growth, division and maturation of epithelial cells-keratinocytes. The result of such changes in the skin is the attack of immune cells of T-lymphocytes and macrophages on the diseased skin cells.

Factors that contribute to the development of psoriasis

Doctors noted a number of factors that can cause the appearance of the disease. Of course, most often psoriasis occurs if the body is affected by several such conditions at once.

  • Hereditary predisposition. There is a version that the genes that are responsible for the functioning of the immune system and for the functions of T-lymphocytes are carriers of the disease. Therefore, parents who suffer from manifestations of psoriasis are more likely to give birth to children who will develop the same symptoms.
  • Thin, dry skin. It was noted that people with such features of the skin get sick more often than those with oily and well-hydrated skin. This is probably due to the protective functions of sebum and the structural features of the skin.
  • External irritating factors. A high percentage of patients among those people who are constantly in contact with alcohol solutions, solvents, household chemicals, cosmetics (lotions, hand creams).
  • Excessive hygiene-excessive love of cleanliness also undermines the protective properties of the skin. Soaps, shower gels and washcloths wash away the natural protective barrier and leave behind microscopic injuries.
  • Bad habits – addiction to alcohol, smoking and drugs is bad for the condition of the skin. Its nutrition and blood supply deteriorates.
  • AIDS patients are more likely to develop psoriasis. Scientists can’t explain this phenomenon. The fact is that psoriasis is caused by increased activity of lymphocytes, and with AIDS, their number decreases.
  • Medications-taking certain medications can trigger the disease. Among them: beta-blockers, antidepressants, anticonvulsants and antimalarial drugs, lithium carbonate.
  • Infections (fungi and Staphylococcus). Quite often, there were cases when psoriasis appeared immediately after fungal lesions or diseases caused by streptococcus.
  • Moving – a change in the climate or even the time of year, the deterioration of the environment can be a trigger for this disease.
  • Stress-severe emotional shocks or physical stress (prolonged periods of hypothermia, overheating, accidents) precede the appearance of the first symptoms of psoriasis.
  • Injuries – permanent impact on the skin: pressure, friction, combing. Such a regular injury can cause the appearance of the first psoriatic plaques at this place.
  • Allergic conditions-allergic rashes on the skin and the processes that occur in this case, in all layers of the skin, also increase the risk of the disease

Symptoms and signs of psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a systemic disease that affects not only the skin and nails. It affects the joints, tendons and spine, the immune, nervous and endocrine systems. The kidneys, liver, and thyroid are often affected. The patient feels very weak, suffers from chronic fatigue and depression. In connection with such a complex effect on the body, the disease has been called psoriatic disease in recent years.

But still, the main manifestations of the disease occur on the skin. The name “scaly lichen” fairly accurately conveys the symptoms of psoriasis. The first manifestations are often papules of pink or bright red color of a regular rounded shape, covered with scales-psoriatic plaques.

They are located symmetrically, mainly on the extensor surfaces, the lower back and the scalp. But they can affect any areas of the skin and the mucous membrane of the genitals. Their size is from a few millimeters, in the initial stages, to ten centimeters or more.

Psoriasis of the scalp is a psoriatic plaque that rises significantly above the surrounding skin. They are densely covered with scales that resemble dandruff. At the same time, the hair remains unaffected. Rashes can be not only under the hair, but also on smooth skin, on the neck and behind the ears. Such changes are explained by the active division of keratinocytes in the affected areas

Psoriasis of the feet and palms causes a strong thickening of the stratum corneum of the skin in these areas of the body. The skin becomes thick, rough. It is often riddled with cracks. This is caused by intense cell division, which multiplies 8 times faster than normal, but is not removed in time from the surface of the skin.

Nail psoriasis is characterized by a variety of symptoms. But the most important are the two main types of damage to the nail plates:
By the “thimble” type. On the nail plate, small pits are formed, similar to the marks of needle pricks.
By the type of onychomycosis. The lesions resemble a fungus on the nails. Nails thicken, change color, peel off. Through the nail plate, a psoriatic papule is visible, surrounded by a red rim. It has the appearance of an oil stain shining through the nail.

The symptoms and signs of psoriasis depend on the stage of the disease, which follow each other cyclically throughout the year. So most patients have a “winter” type of disease, when the exacerbation occurs in the autumn-winter period. The improvement in the condition in the summer is due to the fact that ultraviolet light in the sun has a therapeutic effect. But some patients suffer from the “summer” type.

There are such stages of the course of psoriasis

  • Progressive-the appearance of new elements, active growth of existing plaques, the absence of a pink growth zone around them, intense peeling and itching.
  • stationary – stop the growth of papules, the absence of new rashes, fine folding of the upper layer of the skin around psoriatic plaques.
  • regressive – the absence of peeling, the disappearance of plaques and the appearance of pigmentation areas in their place, indicate the attenuation of the process.

Is psoriasis contagious?

This question is often asked by those who have just identified the disease and friends of the patient. Scientists give an unambiguous answer to it. Psoriasis is not contagious, and a sick person is absolutely safe for others.

This is due to the fact that psoriasis is not caused by a virus or bacterium, but by aggressive white blood cells. These own immune cells, for unknown reasons, attack the skin cells, causing its inflammation. The result of this process is rashes and thickening of the skin in some places (psoriatic plaques).

This disease is not transmitted to others. Being in the same room with the patient, physical contact, general use of dishes and hygiene items (combs, towels) is completely safe. Friends, people who care for the sick, and the couple are not at risk of getting sick.

The same cannot be said for children whose parents suffer from psoriasis. This is due to the fact that there is a hereditary predisposition to the appearance of the disease. Therefore, children have an increased risk of psoriatic papules.


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