What is psoriasis: general information about the disease
Psoriasis (scaly versicolor) is a non-infectious chronic skin disease that manifests as a scaling and a rash on the skin. It is characterized by a wave-like course, with periods of remission (improvement) and periods of exacerbations. The disease can develop at any age, but most often psoriasis affects young people.
The intensity of psoriasis can vary greatly in its different stages. The disease can affect only minor areas of the skin or cover the whole body. Often the disease progresses, and patients note that over time (in the next period of exacerbation) psoriasis affects a large area of skin. In addition to the skin, nail psoriasis is also released, which can occur in an isolated form.
Psoriasis – causes of the disease
The cause of psoriasis is unknown, but immunological changes in the body (autoimmune aggression), neurological disorders, and metabolic disorders can provoke the disease. Contribute to the emergence of psoriasis, heredity, decreased immunity after illness, stress.
Today, among the causes and factors of psoriasis are the following:
- Hereditary predisposition (genetic theory of psoriasis). The likelihood of developing psoriasis is higher if the person’s close relatives also suffer from this disease. Perhaps some groups of genes are responsible for the realization of psoriasis.
- Neuropsychiatric surge (neurogenic theory of psoriasis). It is known that psoriasis can be triggered by strong emotional upheaval. Stress is a serious factor in the development of this disease. In people with psoriasis, stress can cause an exacerbation of the disease.
- Hormonal disorders. Changes in the endocrine glands can be a trigger in the development of psoriasis.
- Disturbance of metabolism (exchange theory of the development of psoriasis). Problems with the metabolism of certain vitamins and trace elements (in particular, silicon) may contribute to the appearance of psoriatic plaques.
- Parasites. The parasitic theory of the development of psoriasis, according to which the disease is caused by certain intestinal parasites, is considered. Numerous studies show that among people suffering from psoriasis, many carriers of various parasitic infections. Scientists believe that roundworm, giardia, bovine tapeworm and others may play a special role in the development of the disease. It is believed that toxic products that secrete these parasites are powerful allergens, which causes an imbalance in the immune system.
- Viral infections.
And though the reasons for the development of psoriasis are not fully understood, today medicine knows the mechanism for the emergence of this pathology. The basis of the appearance of psoriatic rash is a violation of the immune system. Immune cells become aggressive towards their own skin cells, which leads to the appearance of psoriatic plaques.
Psoriasis – symptoms
Psoriasis is manifested by the appearance of scaly patches, red patches that itch severely. Spots are often located on the skin of the scalp, elbow joints, knees, in places of skin folds. Over time, surface flakes easily peel off, in their place remain denser scales, located in the depths. With the progression of psoriasis, the so-called Kebner phenomenon is observed: the appearance of psoriatic plaques in places of scratches or skin injuries.
Here are the symptoms characteristic of various types of psoriasis:
- Plaque psoriasis looks like areas of red, inflamed, dry, thickened, hot to the touch skin, covered with silver-white scales (psoriatic plaques) raised above the surface of healthy skin. The skin on such areas is prone to flaking. Red lesions remain in place of the exfoliated skin, which are easily injured and bleed. Psoriatic plaques usually coalesce among themselves, increasing in size and forming plaque plates (“paraffin lakes”). In psoriasis flexion surfaces, peeling is weak. This causes red spots that are located in the folds of the skin (groin, the area of the external genital organs, the inner surface of the thighs, the folds of the abdomen, the axillary hollows).
- Guttate Psoriasis characterized by a large number of dry, small, red or purple lesions, elevated above the surface of the skin, in the form resembling tears or circles. These elements affect large areas of the skin. Glandular psoriasis often develops after a streptococcal infection (for example, pharyngitis or tonsillitis).
- Pustular psoriasis looks like bubbles raised above the surface of unchanged skin, filled with transparent contents. Pustules are surrounded by edematous red skin that easily exfoliates. Psoriasis of the nails is characterized by a change in the color of the nails, the nail bed, the appearance of points, spots, transverse striations on the nails, thickening of the skin around the nail bed, thickening and stratification of the nail, the complete loss of the nails.
- Psoriatic arthritis accompanied by inflammatory processes in the joints and connective tissue. Psoriatic arthritis most often affects the small joints of the distal phalanges of the fingers, toes, causing psoriatic dactylitis. Psoriatic erythroderma is manifested by widespread desquamation and inflammation, detachment of the skin on a significant surface of the body, edema, soreness of the skin, intense pruritus.
Other symptoms of psoriasis include:
- bleeding areas on the skin;
- the appearance of erosions and dimples on the nails;
- severe itching;
- possible pain in the joints and swelling.
The most common sites of psoriatic plaque
The following types of psoriasis are distinguished:
- vulgar (or ordinary) psoriasis;
- exudative psoriasis;
- arthropathic psoriasis;
- psoriatic erythroderma;
- psoriasis of the palms and soles;
- pustular psoriasis.
Psoriasis proceeds in three stages:
- Progressive stage of psoriasis. This is the first stage of the disease, characterized by exacerbation, in which there is an increase in the number of fresh rashes.
- Stationary stage of psoriasis. This period is characterized by the preservation of the existing picture of the disease. The rash and other symptoms of psoriasis are neither more nor less.
- Regressive stage of psoriasis. This is the final stage of the disease, in which rashes are absent.
Depending on the prevalence of the pathological process, psoriasis is:
- limited – affects small areas of the body;
- common – affects significant areas of the body;
- generalized – affects almost the whole body.
Depending on the season when the disease worsens, psoriasis can be:
- winter – exacerbation of psoriasis, usually occurs in the cold season;
- summer – the exacerbation of psoriasis occurs in the summer;
- uncertain – when periods of exacerbation of psoriasis are not associated with any season of the year.
The dermatologist diagnoses the disease on the basis of a typical clinical picture. To clarify the diagnosis used skin biopsy.
You can sunbathe for 15 minutes daily. You should refrain from drinking alcohol, avoid stress if possible, monitor your weight, lead a healthy lifestyle, properly care for your skin.
For the treatment of psoriasis, emollients, keratoplastic drugs, local preparations (ointments, lotions, creams) containing glucocorticoids (hydrocortisone, prednisolone, dexamethasone), preparations containing zinc pyrithionate, ointments containing analogues of vitamin D3, tar, naphthalan, hydroxyanthrons are used. In severe forms of psoriasis, the ineffectiveness of external therapy, damage to more than 20% of the skin surface, systemic drug therapy is prescribed, which includes cytostatics (methotrexate), synthetic retinoids (retinol acetate, retinol palmitate, tretinoin), glucocorticoids, multivitamins (aevit, etc.).
A special role in the treatment of psoriasis should be assigned to some biologically active substances, among which should be noted:
- Silicon. In recent years, doctors are increasingly talking about the role of silicon in the development of psoriasis. One of the components of the treatment of psoriasis are drugs and vitamin-mineral complexes containing silicon. On the one hand, silicon improves skin condition, and on the other hand, acts as a sorbent that absorbs antigens that play a role in the development of psoriasis.
- Vitamin D. As you know, one of the most important minerals, necessary for the successful struggle with psoriasis, is calcium. However, for normal absorption of calcium, vitamin D is needed. It is best to include drugs with vitamin D after transferring the active phase of psoriasis to the stationary one.
- Fish oil and omega-3 acids. To eliminate the inflammatory process in psoriasis, the intake of polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in large amounts in fish oil, is necessary.
- Lecithin. This substance is necessary for the rapid recovery of epithelial cells that die in psoriasis. Preparations with lecithin allow you to quickly deal with the inflammatory process and restore the integrity of the skin.
Non-drug therapy consists in systemic photochemotherapy: ultraviolet irradiation with a wavelength of 320-400 NM with photosensitizers (PUVA therapy). Also use cryotherapy, plasmapheresis.
The patient must follow a special diet. Diet for psoriasis should be balanced. The patient should be excluded from the diet of refined foods, spicy dishes and sweets. You need to carefully monitor your health and avoid catarrhal diseases in every possible way, since any violation of immunity can trigger the development of the disease.
Among the possible complications of arthritis, depression caused by low self-esteem.
It is impossible to prevent the disease, but there are methods to alleviate the manifestations of psoriasis and reduce the number of exacerbations. It is necessary to protect the skin from drying out, to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun, to try to prevent injury to the skin. It is necessary to avoid stressful situations, infections, taking medications that intensify the manifestations of psoriasis (for example, β-blockers, lithium), stop smoking, limit alcohol intake. And remember that psoriasis treatment should be entrusted to professionals. Treatment of psoriasis at home and any type of self-treatment of this disease is unacceptable.