Shining The Spotlight On Psoriasis: A Socially Depressing Skin Disease

  • 12 Aug 2022

August marks National Psoriasis Awareness Month, a time to spread information about the disease and its treatment options, as well as to support those who experience its manifestations. Psoriasis and related psoriatic disease affect millions of people worldwide.  August 1-August 31 is used as an opportunity to educate sufferers of psoriasis on treatment, causes, triggers and management of this skin disease. This skin disease is a chronic non-communicable disabling disease that has a great negative impact on a patient's quality of life (WHO). 

What Is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a non-contagious skin disease that causes a rash with itchy, scaly patches mostly on knees, trunk, elbow and scalp. It is thought to be an immune system problem and is a long term chronic disease with no successful cure. It is painful, interferes with sleep and makes it hard to concentrate. Its triggers include infections, stress and cold. Sometimes the rashes also develop on nails and joints. Treatment includes removal of scales and stops skin cells from growing so quickly. Topical ointments, medications and light therapy offer relief to some extent. The patches on skin are thick, pink or red in color and are covered with white or silvery scales called plaques. It usually starts in early adulthood though it can begin later in life also. People of any age, gender or race can develop it.

Which Are The Common Body Parts That Are Affected By Psoriasis?

Although the rashes can show up anywhere however, most common parts affected are-

  • Elbows
  • Knees
  • Trunk
  • Scalp
  • Face
  • Inside mouth
  • Genitals (Genital psoriasis)
  • Palms 
  • Feet 

Sometimes these plaques connect on skin of the affected person and cover a large area of the body. They make the affected person uncomfortable and self-conscious due to itchiness. Sometimes these scales tear from the skin and cause bleeding and form massive lesions. It can occur in any age but is common in the age group of 50-69. It is present worldwide. 

What Are The Causes Of Psoriasis?

It is believed that psoriasis is genetically predisposed disease, an autoimmune disease which can be provoked by external and internal triggers such as mild trauma, sunburn, stress, infections and systemic drugs, skin injury, lithium and beta-blocker medications, streptococcal infections, cold weather or extreme humidity etc. The immune system shows an overreacting immune response that causes inflammation and skin cells to grow very fast that surface on skin and build up forming silvery scales. 

What Are The Different Types Of Psoriasis?

  • Plaque psoriasis the most common type (80-90% cases)
  • Inverse psoriasis that occurs in skin folds without scales
  • Guttate psoriasis that occurs post-streptococcal infection, common in young adults and children, presence of drop shaped red scaly spots seen on skin
  • Pustular psoriasis that pus filled bumps on plaques
  • Sebopsoriasis occurs on the face and scalp with yellow scales on red plaques. 
  • Erythrodermic psoriasis in which peeling rash or burn occurs on the body and is the least common type 

Read more on types of psoriasis in detail.

What Are The Symptoms Of Psoriasis?

  • Itchiness
  • Red scaly patches
  • Cracked and dry skin
  • Scaly scalp
  • Skin pain
  • Pitted nails
  • Erythema
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding
  • Flaking and flare-ups of skin
  • Physical discomfort 

What Are The Challenges Faced By Psoriasis Patients?

It causes great physical, emotional and social burden. Disfiguration of skin, disability and marked loss of productivity are common challenges faced with these patients. There is a significant cost to mental well-being such as high rates of depression due to skin appearances and pain, leading to negative impact on the sufferer and his surrounding society. Social exclusion, discrimination and stigma are mentally devastating for the individual who suffers psoriasis. 

What Is The Treatment Of Psoriasis?

Treatment is largely based on controlling the symptoms. Topical and systemic therapies along with phototherapy are available. The need for treatment is lifelong and is aimed at remission. So far there is no therapy that gives a complete cure for this disease. However doctors give-

  • Steroid creams
  • Moisturizers for dry skin
  • Anthralin, a medication that slows the skin cell production
  • Medicated lotions, shampoos, bath solutions to improve scalp psoriasis
  • Vitamin D3 ointment
  • Vitamin A or retinol creams 
  • UV light therapy 
  • Immunotherapy 
  • Cyclosporine medication 

What Are The Complications Of Psoriasis?

What Are The Risk Factors For Psoriasis?

  • Family history – this disease runs down in families
  • Smoking tobacco increases risk and severity of this disease
  • Heavy alcohol consumption causes the disease (rare cause)
  • Sudden withdrawal of oral or injected corticosteroids also causes the disease 


Visit Project Global Cure to know more of such disabling diseases and educate one and all for them. 

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