Psoriasis is a medical condition in which your skin experiences redness, patches, and silvery crusts. Generally, this crust can appear on your elbows, knees, scalp, and lower back. However, it is possible that these crusts will also appear on other body parts.
Symptoms of redness and crusts occur due to excessive skin cells production – up to 10 times faster than normal. In some cases, these crusts and patches can cause itching or pain.
Psoriasis commonly affects adults over 35 years of age. Both men and women have the same potential to develop this disease. Psoriasis can also occur in members of the same family.
Psoriasis is a chronic disease with several stages – from asymptomatic to mild symptoms to severe symptoms.
Causes of Psoriasis
In people with psoriasis, there is overproduction of skin cells. Normally, your skin produces and does cell turnover every three to four weeks. However, psoriasis causes faster skin cells turnover – every three to seven days. As a result, crusts and patches appear on your skin.
There is no exact cause as to why a person can develop psoriasis. However, this disease is often associated with the immune system. The immune system works to protect yourself from various infections, germs, and viruses. However, it can also be a system that attacks healthy skin cells.
It is not clear whether psoriasis is genetic. However, psoriasis can affect a member in the same family. Psoriasis symptoms can become severe due to skin sores, sore throat, or due to side effects of medications.
Psoriasis is not an infectious disease.
When to See a Doctor for Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is generally treated by a dermatologist. Doctors can immediately diagnose psoriasis by looking at the patient’s skin condition. Physical examination is performed on the scalp, ears, nails, navel, elbows and knees.
However, in certain cases, the doctor will require a skin sampling test called a biopsy. The sample will be examined in the laboratory using a microscope.
This biopsy serves to confirm the symptoms are indeed of psoriasis rather than other skin diseases.
Symptoms of Psoriasis
Symptoms of psoriasis can vary, depending on the patient’s skin condition and the type of psoriasis. The most common symptoms of psoriasis are:
- Red skin patches (lesions) covered with silvery scales. This can cause itching and sometimes cracks until it bleeds. In acute psoriasis, these lesions will expand.
- Disorders and discoloration of nails. Nails can also become crushed and detached from your skin.
- Crust on the scalp.
Treatment for Psoriasis
Psoriasis cannot be completely cured, but a number of treatments and medications can help reduce the rate of skin cells production and relieve itching or pain. The initial steps for psoriasis treatment include:
- Steroid cream
- Moisturizer for dry skin
- Coal tar to treat psoriasis on the scalp — can be a moisturizer, foam, shampoo or body wash
- Retinoid cream
To treat more severe cases of psoriasis, creams or moisturizers are insufficient. The treatment includes:
- Light therapy by emitting ultraviolet light to the skin. This functions to reduce skin cells production.
- Methotrexate. A strong medicine with fatal side effects such as kidney or lung problems. This limited medicine will only be given in small doses. Usually, the doctor will perform a series of laboratory tests first.
- Retinoids. This comes in pill or cream form. Retinoids are usually not for treating female psoriasis patients as it might cause birth defects.
- Biological medications. Biologics can help control psoriasis inflammation.
- Enzymes inhibitors. The newest type of medicines to treat long-term diseases such as psoriasis. These medicines can also reduce skin inflammation in psoriasis.
Treatment Cost for Psoriasis
The cost for Psoriasis treatment varies – depending on the type of psoriasis and treatment method chosen.
For more information regarding the estimated costs of Psoriasis treatment, contact Smarter Health.
Prevention of Psoriasis
There are no exact preventive measures for psoriasis. However, there are some precautions that you can take to prevent psoriasis from worsening. Here is what you can do:
- Maintain the hygiene of your skin and scalp. Avoid scratching and peeling the crusts on the skin. In addition, you should also avoid using sharp objects in daily activities such as knives or scissors to avoid getting scratches.
- Keep your body moist by using a moisturizer and avoid a dry and cold room.
- Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages. Excess alcohol consumption can cause psoriasis to spread even more.
- Exercise regularly and manage your weight. Not only to maintain your overall health, this can also help reduce stress due to psoriasis.
Home Remedies for Patients Diagnosed with Psoriasis
There are several home remedies to treat the symptoms of psoriasis that you can practice, including:
- Avoid prolonged shower time. Psoriasis can cause skin to become dry and irritated. The frequent intensity of bathing can trigger the skin to become drier. Patients with psoriasis are advised to only bathe 2 times a day, with a duration of 5-10 minutes each.
- Use a moisturizer. You can avoid itching by regularly applying moisturizer to the skin. Avoid using moisturizers that contain fragrances. Make it a habit to apply moisturizer immediately after bathing.
- Stay away from psoriasis triggers. Psoriasi symptoms vary from person to person. It could be due to smoking, stress, or even skin injuries. Avoiding these trigger factors can help prevent persistent symptoms of psoriasis.
- Use a natural moisturizer. Aloe vera, apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, turmeric, and wheat are all natural ingredients that can be used to moisturize your skin. However, the use of each material has different effects. It is recommended to consult your doctor first.
- Set a healthy diet plan. Consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables can help treat psoriasis symptoms. You are encouraged to regularly eat nutritious foods — especially foods that are rich in fiber and antioxidants to relieve inflammation of the skin.
- Avoid stress. It is important for psoriasis sufferers to avoid stress. Stress is often a trigger factor for some patients. Try to relieve stress by exercising or practice relaxation activities regularly, for at least 20 minutes a day.