Plaque psoriasis is a common, potentially chronic skin disease that is characterized by itchy, dry, cracked skin and redness. Over 7.5 million people in the US suffer with this condition. Doctors report the condition is underdiagnosed, and undertreated with many patients not knowing they have it.
What is There to Know About Psoriasis?
Psoriasis comes from the Greek psōrian, which means “to have the itch.” It can occur anywhere on the body, and affects men and women equally. Psoriasis can begin in early adulthood, and can become more likely as you get older. “I think something a lot of people don’t understand is how uncomfortable it can be,” said Jena L., 31.
Psoriasis can take a toll your mental health, by making you self-conscious about the appears of your dry flaky skin and by causing daily discomfort. Surprisingly, even skin that has been damaged by a bite from a cat or dog can become more likely to develop a psoriasis lesion. Because of the complexity of the disease, it is important to isolate your specific triggers. Trial and error may be needed to find the correct treatment for you.
Signs and Symptoms
In plaque psoriasis, the skin becomes itchy and dry, and may even crack and bleed. There can be patches of inflamed or scaly skin with red, gray, or brown patches and bumps. The skin can be sore, and the accompaniment of painful or swollen joints is possible. If you have sore joints, you should consider if they could be of psoriatic origin. Leaving psoriasis untreated is not a good idea as skin infection is a possible complication. According to a recent study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, people with over 10% of their body covered in psoriasis had a 64% increased risk of developing diabetes. There is an elevated risk of heart disease as well.
Connection to Psoriatic Arthritis
The National Psoriasis Foundation reports 30% of people with psoriasis will be affected by psoriatic arthritis. Be on the lookout for symptoms like tenderness or stiffness in joints, swollen fingers, and fatigue. Bring any such symptoms to the attention of your medical professionals. They may recommend the use of special high powered medications.
How to Defend Againt Symptoms?
Wear sunscreen when you go outside and consider a vitamin D3 supplement. Maintaining a good diet and exercise can help reduce stress-induced flare-ups. Avoid hot showers as these can dry the skin. Take only warm showers and limit their duration and frequency. You can even experiment with cold showers if you can handle them. On the thickest plaques, consider moisturizing cream with keratolytic agents like CeraVe Psoriasis Moisturizing Cream. As is often the case, it is advisable to avoid smoking and excessive alcohol intake. Light therapy can help some people reduce their symptoms.
Speak to Your Doctor About Medical Treatments
New and extremely powerful treatments have become available in recent years which target key biological functions in the body, and do so in a highly selective manner, thereby limiting side-effects. With proper treatment, moderate to severe psoriasis is no longer the curse it once was. A new therapy was approved just last year for all treatment severities of psoriasis. There are even oral therapies available.
Companies have spent billions of dollars to develop new treatments to target psoriasis, Patients should bring symptoms of concern to their medical practitioners. With propert treatment, patients have an opportunity to experience lesser symptoms, greater comfort, and reduced inconvenience to their daily lives.