Psoriasis is a chronic skin disorder, easily identified by its symptoms of white, scaly skin and red lesions, though not so easily cured or understood. In psoriasis, skin cells mature faster than the body can shed them, causing a buildup. Although there are many theories as to what the cause of such a disease might be – genetics, stress, or other triggers – no one is quite sure why the disease occurs, or what could be a possible way to fully cure it. In this essay we will explore the symptoms, types, and effects of this condition, and also some of the known treatments.
Psoriasis can occur in anyone, but there are many groups that are at a higher risk. As mentioned above, genetics plays a role. One out of three cases of the disease have had it in their family. Age is also a risk factor. The disease appears most often in adolescence or after the age of sixty. Also, Caucasians are more susceptible to it, whereas African Americans have the lowest overall incidence of it.
The symptoms of psoriasis differ from type to type, although inflamed, scaly lesions are present in all five types. The most common form of the disease, plaque psoriasis, is identified by small bumps that begin to grow and become scaly. These lesions flake easily, but removing these patches can cause the tender skin below to bleed. In the Guttate type, small, individual, red drops form. This type does not have as much scaling as plaque psoriasis. The drops usually clear up on their own, but may also reappear as a different form of psoriasis, usually plaque. Inverse psoriasis usually occurs in places where the skin folds, such as the genitals, breasts, armpits or the backs of knees. This type will appear red, yet it will be smooth and dry. Also, no scaling will occur. Pustular psoriasis is a type that's significantly more rare. It is also more painful. In this type, blisters filled with non-infectious pus appear within a few hours and then dry up and peel within another two days. Severe medical risks exist for those who have this particular form of psoriasis, due to its side effects; exhaustion, anemia, weight loss, fever, chills, rapid pulse rate, severe itching and muscle weakness. Even less common than pustular psoriasis is erythrodermic psoriasis. This type is easily noticeable; the entire body is often covered with a fiery redness. This type also poses severe health risks. It damages the body's ability to control temperature. Hospitalization is sometimes required.
Psoriasis often occurs on the elbows, knees or trunk. The scalp is also a common place; 50% of patients with any sort of psoriasis have it on their scalp.
There is no known cause for psoriasis, as of yet, but many potential "triggers" have been identified. Injury to skin is one of the...