Psoriasis can be described as an inflammatory skin disease that causes increased skin cell turnover which results in thick skin cells. It is important to note that psoriasis is not contagious. The skin usually becomes inflamed causing the skin to appear pinkish in color with precise margins. Additionally, the affected skin becomes dry and irritated. Unfortunately, patients suffer from itchy skin which is debatably the most uncomfortable symptom.
According to available statistics for Singapore, almost 1-2% are afflicted by this condition. Psoriasis is one of the top ten skin diseases that are presently treated in our country.
Firstly, you should be aware that psoriasis can be broken down into 5 main categories. As such, if you are to know whether you have psoriasis, you need to educate yourself on the different types. We have enumerated the common kinds below:
This is one of the most common kind of psoriasis. It usually presents with red/pink skin patches covered with dead skin cells that are light grey in color. They usually appear on body parts:
When a person is in a flare, the plaques can become itchy and painful. They may even crack and bleed at times.
The symptoms of this type of psoriasis are as follows:
Small lesion spots
Strep throat infection (at times)
It usually starts in childhood or young adulthood. It ranks second on the list of psoriasis. According to research, about 10 % suffer from Guttate psoriasis.
You should also be aware that psoriasis may also cause nail pitting. Severe psoriasis may also cause tenderness, joint pain, and swelling.
According to research genetics and psoriasis are linked and play an undeniable role in who develops psoriasis. Your environment may also trigger psoriasis causing increased skin growth due to an overactive immune system. These skin cells surface between 3-4 days instead of the usual 4 weeks.
Research has confirmed that both physical and emotional and physical stress can aggravate psoriasis. Cases of flu and throat infections may also make the disease more severe. As such you should try to keep your immune system healthy by eating a wholesome well-balanced diet. It is also advisable that you add exercise to your daily routine. Exercise plays a dual role; it both strengthens the immune system and relieves stress. Exercising outside in the sunshine can have positive effects on the condition.
Certain medications can cause a psoriasis flare. Always use your medications as directed by your doctor. It is also advised that your keep yourself hydrated with sufficient liquids and use skin creams to keep the skin moisturized to prevent dry and itchy skin.
We advise against scratching which causes aggravation. It is recommended that you use anti-itch medications and creams.
Psoriasis is diagnosed by a physical exam. Your doctor will simply examine the affected skin and decide whether you have psoriasis or not. You will be questioned about your family history since about 1/3 of people who are diagnoses with psoriasis have a relative who also suffered from the disease.
Your doctor may take a skin sample and examine it under a microscope. If you have psoriasis it will appear thicker and inflamed. For example, eczema, another common skin condition looks different when examined by a microscope.
There a quite a few treatments to choose from, these include:
No, it is not. It is actually diagnosed quite often. It is not contagious and cannot be spread by physical contact.
Regrettably, psoriasis has no cure. However, there is no need for despair, most patients manage their condition effectively and are able to live their lives with a high level of normalcy.
In closing, several studies have revealed that psoriasis is closely linked with other chronic medical conditions like obesity, diabetes, liver problems, and high cholesterol levels. Psoriasis should not be ignored and while you endeavor to take proper care of your skin, you should also schedule regular medical examinations. This way you can undergo blood tests to check your cholesterol and blood sugar levels if necessary.
Feel free to call, email, or visit us at the clinic, if you suspect that you may have psoriasis. Our doctors are waiting to assist you.