What is it?
Psoriasis is a very common skin disease. Affects both men and women, mainly aged between 20 and 40 years, but can arise at any stage of life.
Its cause is unknown. Emotional phenomena are often related to its appearance or its aggravation, probably acting as triggers of a genetic predisposition to disease. About 30% of people who have psoriasis have a history of relatives also affected.
It is not a contagious disease and there is no need to avoid physical contact with others.
Characteristics and symptoms
Psoriasis may present itself in many ways, from minimal forms, with very few lesions, to erythrodermic psoriasis, in which all the skin is compromised. The most common form of presentation is plaque psoriasis, characterized by the appearance of well limited, reddish and scaly lesions (photo below) on the skin, with chronic course.
Plaque psoriasis usually presents few lesions, but in some cases, these can be numerous and affect large areas of the body.
Psoriasis lesions are dry and its scales may become thick and white (photo below). The most common locations are the elbows, knees, scalp and trunk.
It is common to occur phases of improvement and worsening. When the plaques regress, they often leave a blotch with lighter skin at the affected site.
Another feature, called the Koebner phenomenon, is characterized by the formation of linear lesions in areas of skin trauma, such as scratches. Psoriasis lesions are usually asymptomatic, but there may be slight pruritus (itching).
Less common presentations are nail psoriasis (photo below), with lesions exclusively in the nails, pustular psoriasis, with formation of pustules mainly on the palms and soles and psoriatic arthritis, which is more common in the fingers, characterized by joint inflammation that can lead to the destruction of the joint.
Another form of presentation is the guttate psoriasis (photo below) with eruptive appearance of small round lesions, often associated with throat infections.
The diagnosis of psoriasis is usually clinical, and may be confirmed by a biopsy, which reveal a characteristic picture.
Treatment of psoriasis depends on the clinical presentation, ranging from simple application of topical medications in mild cases to more complex treatments for severe cases.
Response to treatment also varies greatly from one patient to another and the emotional component should not be underestimated. A healthy lifestyle, avoiding stress will contribute to the improvement. Moderate sun exposure is of great help and keeping the skin well hydrated also helps.
There is no way to definitely end up with psoriasis, but it is possible to achieve complete remission. However, it is not yet possible to assert that the disease will not return after the disappearance of symptoms.