LANSDALE, PA PATIENTS ASK, “WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PSORIASIS AND IS TREATMENT AVAILABLE FOR THEM?”
Posted By: Aradhna Saxena, M.D. | Published On: Feb 11, 2019 | Medical Dermatology
As a leading dermatology office in the Lansdale, PA, we see patients with a wide variety of chronic skin conditions. Among them is Psoriasis. Psoriasis is a type of skin condition that causes red, itchy patches on the skin. It can be difficult to manage and causes many different uncomfortable symptoms.
If you are suffering from Psoriasis, the team at Dermatology & Skin Cancer Institute can help. We have an experienced team that is skilled in diagnosing the various types of Psoriasis in order to provide effective treatments that relieve symptoms. With treatment, Psoriasis can be managed, and flare-ups kept to a minimum, greatly improving the quality of life.
What is Psoriasis?
Healthy skin is continually replenishing. In normal skin, these cells last for about 28 days before they are shed, and new cells emerge. In an individual with Psoriasis, this process speeds up dramatically. Rather than 28-day cycles, cells mature at a fast pace of about 3 to 6 days. This pace is so accelerated that the body is unable to effectively shed the dead cells, leaving the skin covered in patches of red, inflamed skin with scaly white flakes.
Psoriasis most commonly occurs on elbows, abdomen or knees, but can occur on any part of the body. Most individuals with Psoriasis experience their first flare-up sometime between the age of 15 and 35. It’s a genetic condition with no known cure or way to prevent it. The goal of Psoriasis treatment is to alleviate symptoms, improve healing, and minimize future flare-ups.
Different types of Psoriasis:
There are five different types of Psoriasis
- Plaque Psoriasis – The most common type. Inflamed red lesions with white scales. Typically located on scalp, elbows, knees, or back.
- Guttate Psoriasis – The most frequent in children or young adults. Small, red dot-like spots on the abdomen, arms, or legs. Is often a response to other health condition such as tonsillitis or strep throat.
- Inverse Psoriasis – Smooth, shiny red lesions typically found under the breasts, armpits, groin or around the buttocks.
- Pustular Psoriasis – White, pus-filled blisters surrounded by red, inflamed skin. Common causes are stress, infections, discontinuation of certain medications, and overexposure to UV radiation.
- Erythrodermic Psoriasis – Inflamed, fiery red skin lesions that shed in sheets. This type of psoriasis can be very itchy and painful. Its triggers include infection, pneumonia, medications, and severe sunburns.
Risk Factors for Psoriasis
While Psoriasis is considered to be an immune system related condition, there are triggers that can exacerbate the condition. They include:
- Skin injuries (sunburn, scratch, vaccinations)
- Certain medications
- Viral / Bacterial infections
- Genetic history
- Cold temperatures
Individuals with Psoriasis are also at great risk for other health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, obesity, immune-related conditions, and inflammatory bowel disease.
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In order to accurately diagnose Psoriasis, we will perform a full physical examination of the skin, scalp, and nails for any signs of the condition. We will get a full family medical history and discuss lifestyle triggers such as stress, new medications, or recent illnesses.
Treatment for Psoriasis
There are various treatment options available that are very effective at controlling Psoriasis flare-ups. The method used depends on the severity of the Psoriasis.
Mild to Moderate (up to 10% of the body covered)
For these cases, we often recommend a multi-faceted approach that includes prescription creams, over the counter medications and light therapy.
Over the counter medications that contain salicylic acid and coal tar can work to improve the skin’s ability to shed effectively and slow the growth of skin cells. Examples include Epsom salts, scale lifters, calamine lotion, hydrocortisone creams, and moisturizers.
Prescription creams such as topical steroids, retinoids, Vitamin D3 and others such as Anthralin, Calcipotriene, and Betamethasone Dipropionate can slow the growth of skin cells and minimize inflammation.
Light therapy is the controlled exposure to UV light used to improve the appearance of the skin and alleviate symptoms.
Moderate to Severe
Treatment may include all of the above along with oral medications and certain injectable medications that can effectively suppress the immune system. These are typically only used in the most severe cases.
If you are in the Lansdale, PA area and suspect you may be suffering from Psoriasis, call Dermatology and Skin Cancer Institute today at (215) 392-6636 to request an appointment.