Psoriasis is a common skin condition that revs up skin cell life cycles, causing cells to “pile” on the skin’s superficial layer. These extra cells create red, itchy, and patchy areas. Severe cases of psoriasis can be painful, but the condition is not dangerous or contagious. Psoriasis is most often found on the scalp, buttocks, elbows, and knees, but can be anywhere on the body. Psoriasis has no cure, but there are various techniques and procedures to reduce outbreaks and treat symptoms.
Psoriasis can range in severity, and this severity can fluctuate throughout a person’s life. Symptoms can also vary and include thickened and pitted nails and swollen joints along with the more traditional side effects. There are various types of psoriasis, but all have cycles and flareups that can last from a few weeks to months. Sometimes a person experiences complete remission with seemingly no lifestyle changes.
Nobody knows exactly what causes psoriasis. However, it is suspected that it is linked to an immune disorder affecting white blood cells and T cells. T cells are in charge of defending the body from foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses. However, with psoriasis the T cells also attack healthy skin cells. When T cells are overactive, then redness, lesions, and dilated blood vessels occur.
It’s a mistake made by the T cells that leads to a surge in healthy skin cell production. This ongoing cycle results in thick patches of skin with a shiny, scale-like topping. It is theorized that both genetics and environmental factors can cause psoriasis.
Only a dermatologist can diagnose psoriasis. It is a fast process, and usually requires only a physical examination. Family history and personal history of skin, nail, and scalp flareups are recorded. In rare cases, a skin biopsy may be recommended.
Anyone can develop psoriasis, and first flareups can occur in adulthood. You are at a higher risk of psoriasis if:
Everyone has different psoriasis triggers. Understanding yours can help minimize outbreaks. Common triggers include:
Psoriasis can be a sign that other diseases might be lurking. These can include:
Trust Spectrum Dermatology to offer the widest range of psoriasis treatments and recommendations in a compassionate and understanding environment. Call (480) 948-8400 to connect with one of four locations in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area.