Psoriasis is a common, long term skin disease that causes the skin cells to multiply quicker and form red, itchy, scaly and dry patches of skin. Psoriasis is commonly seen on the scalp, elbows, knees and trunk. There are many types of psoriasis depending on its appearance and location.
Psoriasis is an immune system problem that causes the skin cells to multiple at rapid rates. The exact cause of this is unknown. Possible triggers that lead to psoriasis are:
- Cold weather
- Injury to skin
- Certain medications
Common symptoms of psoriasis includes:
- Dry, itchy skin
- Scaly patches of skin
- Cracks on skin that may bleed
- Inflammation and stiffness of joints
Diagnosis of psoriasis involves:
- Review of signs and symptoms
- General history
- Skin examination including scalp and nails
- Skin biopsy
There are no exact preventive measures for psoriasis. The condition can be managed from worsening and flare ups can be prevented possibly by the following measures:
- Keep skin moisturized
- Try to avoid dry weather
- Avoid medications that trigger psoriasis
- Avoid infections
- Avoid smoking and alcohol consumption
- Reduce stress
- Take care to avoid skin injuries
- Eat a healthy diet.
The major treatment objective for psoriasis is to stop the rapid multiplication of skin cells. Treatment options include light therapy, topical therapy and medications either taken orally or injected.
- Light therapy or phototherapy is exposing the skin to natural or artificial light in controlled amounts. This is usually used for severe conditions of psoriasis. Light therapy is done either individually or in combination with other treatment methods.
- Topical treatment involves use of corticosteroids, salicylic acid and other creams and ointments to reduce the symptoms.
- Medications like steroids may be used to treat the symptoms, suppress the immune system and slow down the growth of skin cells.
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