Psoriasis is one of the commonest conditions seen by dermatologists. It is said to occur in 1 in 50 people, but is probably even commoner than that. Psoriasis is mostly a genetic condition, meaning that some people are simply born with a tendency to develop psoriasis. This does not necessarily mean that either of an individual’s parents would have had psoriasis (although this is commonly the case), but that the combination of genes from both parents has caused the condition.
What Treatments are Available for Psoriasis?
Treatments for psoriasis are often very effective, but are time consuming to apply. A wide number of treatments are available for psoriasis, and there have been huge advances in the last decade in the management of severe psoriasis. Some of the new injected treatments for very severe psoriasis have revolutionised treatment and are among the most exciting developments in dermatology.
Mild and moderate psoriasis is often best treated using topical creams, gels or lotions which can be highly effective. Several different types exist and these often work best in combination. Your dermatologist will advise you on which combination is most likely to help you. Treatments include topical vitamin D-like treatments, corticosteroids, coal-tar based preparations, vitamin A-like preparations and dithranol an effective plant-derived treatment.
More severe psoriasis, or psoriasis that is having a major impact on quality-of-life is often best treated with specialised ultraviolet light treatments, oral treatments which control the body’s tendency to cause psoriasis inflammation or, for patients who do not respond, injectable ‘biological’ treatments which are often highly effective. Dermatologists will be able to discuss the pros and cons of these treatments with you and help you select the treatment that is most appropriate for you.
When does Psoriasis Appear?
Psoriasis tends to appear in mid adult life, although does occur in children and older adults. Psoriasis is a condition which is often chronic (lasting for months to years), but often comes and goes in severity. Certain things are know to make psoriasis worse including emotional stress, certain medications, bacterial sore throat infections and higher levels of alcohol consumption.
How does Psoriasis Make People Feel?
Psoriasis can be very distressing, and psoriasis patients often experience significant psychological upset, low self esteem, feelings of low self worth, a reluctance to socialise and difficulties in forming emotional and sexual relationships.
Types of Psoriasis
What is Chronic Plaque Psoriasis?
Chronic plaque posriasis is the commonest type of psoriasis and typically causes thick scaly red itchy areas of skin to form (called plaques). These plaques usually occur on the backs of the elbows, the front of the knees and in the scalp, but often occur on the skin generally.
What is Guttate Psoriasis?
Guttate psoriasis often comes on quite quickly (in a matter of days or weeks) and causes the appearance of numerous small plaques on the skin mainly of the trunk (chest, tummy and back). It sometimes follows a few weeks after a bad sore throat.
What is Palmoplantar Psoriasis?
Palmoplantar posriasis is sometimes known as known as palmoplantar pustulosis. This form of psoriasis affects the palms and soles, which become red with multiple small pus-filled spots which leave brown marks.
What is Inverse Psoriasis?
Inverse psoriasis affects mainly the folds of skin such as armpits, groin, between the buttocks and beneath breasts. Inverse psoriasis tends not to be scaly, but is red may be weepy.