What is psoriasis? Types, symptoms, and causes

What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a skin disease that causes reddish scaly lesions, although they often appear whitish, and especially affects the elbows, knees and scalp area. From Atopyk we reveal all the details of this condition that thousands of people suffer today.

Also often written as 'psoriasis', this inflammatory disease has great clinical and evolutionary variability. Although many may think that psoriasis is contagious, this statement is false, as is the belief that psoriasis is hereditary, although there is a genetic predisposition to suffer from it.

Although the areas in which psoriasis usually occurs are the head, elbows and knees, it can also be suffered in the nails, feet, in the eye area and even on the genitals. Also, World Psoriasis Day is celebrated on October 29, as is Psoriasis Arthritis Day. And it is estimated that this disease affects between 1% and 3% of the population and usually appears between 15 and 35 years.

What types of psoriasis are there?

There are different types of psoriasis, below you can see the main characteristics of each one:

  1. Psoriasis vulgaris: it is the most common psoriasis, which occurs in the form of scaly, reddish patches that usually cause some itching. The most common areas are the elbows, knees, head and in up to 30% of the cases the genitals.
  2. Inverted psoriasis: it tends to almost exclusively affect body folds such as armpits, groin, ears, integluteum and navel. It is also known as flexural or intertriginous psoriasis.
  3. Guttate psoriasis: it is rare and is more present in children and young people. It causes small plaques of just 10 millimeters and usually occurs mainly in the trunk area. Although in children and young people it lasts a few months, in adults it can become chronic.
  4. Nail psoriasis: it is psoriasis that affects the nails. It is estimated that 80-90% of people with plaque psoriasis also have psoriasis of the nails.
  5. Pustular psoriasis: this variant is characterized by the appearance of highly visible pustules, palmoplantar pustulosis (PPP) being very frequent, recognizable by the yellow spots of pus on the palms and soles.
  6. Erythrodermic psoriasis: it occurs in the form of erythema or acute redness, affecting 90% of the surface, assuming a frequent risk of superinfection.

What symptoms does psoriasis have?

The main symptom of psoriasis is that it causes a lesion on the skin in the form of red plaques and spots covered with whitish scales that are usually itchy. The size of these plaques is variable, so that in some people it can appear as small spots and in others it can cover 90% of the surface of their skin.

As we said, these plaques can cause some intense itching or burning and even pain. In addition, it is common for people with psoriasis to suffer from dry and cracked skin that can bleed. Another symptom is that the joints sometimes become inflamed and somewhat stiff.

What causes psoriasis? Most common causes

Contrary to what some people may believe, psoriasis is not contagious and it is not hereditary, although there is a genetic predisposition to being an immune disease.

This disease is due to the fact that T lymphocytes, responsible for protecting the body from infections, are activated incorrectly, triggering an inadequate immune response. This causes the proliferation of keratinocytes and, in response, the skin cell renewal process is accelerated, going from every 30 days to every 4. This accumulation of cells in the corneal layer generates plaques of whitish scales, which is known like psoriasis.

Some triggers and causes of this reaction can be severe infections, dry climates, skin lesions, exposure to very stressful situations, alcohol consumption or the intake of some blood pressure medications.

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