Pakistan has a high prevalence of skin conditions ranging from simple skin problems such as acne to pyogenic and fungal infections. Raising awareness, public education, and adequate nutrition can all help to lower the occurrence of skin problems in the country.
Psoriasis is one of the most common skin conditions, affecting people of all age groups. It is a chronic skin disorder that causes the skin cells to multiply. The immune-mediated skin disease shows vital signs of inflammation, such as raised plaques and scales on the skin.
What are the causes of psoriasis? How is it diagnosed and treated? Is psoriasis contagious? Read on to learn about psoriasis skin diseases, psoriasis definition, its types, and how it causes discomfort and pain for people suffering from this particular skin issue.
What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis Vulgaris is a chronic autoimmune skin disease that increases the skin cell production process. Typically, the life cycle of the skin cell is one month. The new skin cells are formed deep in the skin and replace the old ones at the surface. However, the skin production process shortens to three to four days in psoriasis. New cells grow at an increased rate while the old cells do not have enough time to fall off. Eventually, the overproduction of skin cells results in a buildup.
The increased build-up of the skin cells results in bumpy red patches covered with white scales. The patches on darker skin tones may appear purplish or dark brown with grey scales. They can grow anywhere on the body but mostly appear on the scalp, elbows, knees, and lower back. Not uncommon, but psoriasis on hands, feet, neck, and face has a low prevalence among the general population. Among them, psoriasis scalp is a common skin disorder.
What is Psoriasis in Urdu?
Psoriasis meaning in Urdu is Chambal disease. It is one of the most common skin problems in Pakistan. The chambal disease is a dry, scaly, and patchy skin issue that is not infectious, but it can lead to a social stigma where patients become reclusive.
Inflammation caused by Chambal disease impacts other organs and tissues in the body. It is commonly associated with other conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, heart disease, anxiety, depression, and psoriatic arthritis.
What are the 5 types of Psoriasis?
There are 5 types of psoriasis. These are:
- Plaque psoriasis is the most common type, with patches covered in whitish-silver scales or plaques. These patches commonly appear on the elbows, knees, and scalp.
- Guttate psoriasis: Characterized by small pink or violet spots that may appear on the torso, arms, and legs, guttate psoriasis mainly occurs in childhood.
- Pustular psoriasis: Commonly found in adults, pustular psoriasis causes white, pus-filled blisters and broad areas of red or violet inflamed skin (varies on different skin tones).
- Inverse psoriasis: The patches typically occur under the armpits, breasts, groin area, or around skinfolds in the genitals. Symptoms include bright areas of red, shiny, inflamed skin.
- Erythrodermic psoriasis: It is a severe and rare type of psoriasis. The red patches affect large body areas at once, and scales are shed off in sheets. It appears as if the skin is sunburned. The affected person can develop a fever or become very ill. It is necessary to check with the healthcare provider because this type of psoriasis can be fatal.
5 Common Symptoms of Psoriasis:
Like most skin conditions, psoriasis is accompanied by itching, discoloration of the skin, and patches. The signs and symptoms of the auto-immune skin issue vary from person to person, depending on the type of skin disease. The 5 most common symptoms of psoriasis are:
- Patches of red skin covered with silver-colored scales. The size and severity range from person to person. Patches may vary from dandruff-like scaling to eruptions covering large areas of the body.
- Discoloration and pitting of the fingernails and toenails. The nails may also break or detach from the nail bed.
- Dry, cracked skin that may bleed.
- Itching, burning, or soreness of the patches or spots.
- Psoriasis on hands and feet that is characterized by thick, scaly patches and plaques.
What are the causes of Psoriasis?
The exact cause of psoriasis is unknown, but research shows that the immune system and genetics play significant roles in its development. The genetics of most skin conditions are complicated, including psoriasis. Even without a family history of psoriasis, it is possible to develop certain skin problems.
Some psoriasis triggers may affect the immune system, resulting in the development of this skin issue. Moreover, psoriasis is not contagious and cannot be transmitted from person to person through physical contact.
Some common triggers that can result in the onset of psoriasis symptoms are:
- Injury to skin, scratches, or bites
- Strep Infections
- Certain medications
- Smoking and excess alcohol
- Cold, dry weather
How to Diagnose Psoriasis:
There are two methods to diagnose psoriasis; physical examination and biopsy. Psoriasis symptoms are easy to distinguish, mostly because they are different from other conditions that may cause similar symptoms. But when symptoms are not definitive, a skin biopsy is done to form a firm diagnosis.
What is the treatment for Psoriasis?
There is no specific cure for psoriasis, but there are several treatment options that may help to reduce inflammation and scales, slow the growth of skin cells, and remove plaques. The treatment aims to slow down skin disease progression. When the symptoms are severe and widespread, the doctor may even combine the treatments for effective relief.
The three categories of psoriasis treatment include; topical treatments, systemic medications, and light therapy.
- Creams and ointments for the skin help reduce mild to moderate psoriasis symptoms.
- Oral or injected medications help treat moderate to severe psoriasis.
- Light therapy involves using ultraviolet (UV) or natural light to treat psoriasis. Sunlight kills the white blood cells that target the normal cells and cause increased cell growth.
Psoriasis is a chronic, disabling skin disease that gravely affects people’s quality of life and is associated with psychological, metabolic, arthritic, and cardiovascular comorbidities. Psoriasis skin diseases typically consist of red, scaly plaques on the elbows, knees, scalp, and lower back. There is no definite cure for psoriasis, but topical treatments, systemic medications, and light therapy may help alleviate the symptoms.
People with psoriasis are at greater risk of developing conditions including psoriatic arthritis, conjunctivitis, obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, mental health conditions, and other autoimmune diseases, such as celiac disease, sclerosis, etc.