Psoriasis is a genetic autoimmune disease characterized by the flaking
and scaling of skin. Psoriasis comes in varying degrees and is a chronic
and recurring disease. Simple stages of psoriasis may not effectively
affect anyone, however, more severe cases can be disabling socially
as well as life threatening.
Anyone can get psoriasis but the early form of the disease may
be seen in people who are in their late teens and early twenties.
Late onset forms of the disease can affect individuals who are in
their 50s or 60s.
Psoriasis is not a contagious disease; and around 2% of the population has this condition to some extent. The presence of simple dandruff can occur as a low active state of this condition. But this may progress to something more severe.
Causes of Psoriasis
This condition affects those who are genetically predisposed to
psoriasis. Linked through genetics, psoriasis runs in families,
however, the movement of the disease through each generation is
not yet established. Psoriasis may occur in people at higher risk
for the disease if exposed to stimuli such as streptococcal infections
and skin damage.
Psoriasis comes in two main types: psoriasis vulgaris and psoriasis pustulosa.
Psoriasis vulgaris is also known as plaque psoriasis and is the most common form of this condition. The first signs of a psoriasis vulgaris outbreak are red spots or patches with the patches growing bigger and becoming scaly. These scales fall off in large quantities and if scraped off, will show a number of bleeding areas underneath.
Psoriasis pustolosa is also known as pustular psoriasis characterized by lesions and fluid filled pustules on the skin. The inflammation that occurs with pustular psoriasis is very severe.
The types of psoriasis are further divided into groups based on severity, duration of the condition and appearance of the wounds it causes.
Psoriasis of the scalp
Scalp psoriasis occurs in people who are inflicted with psoriasis
and may occur by itself or in conjunction with other types of the
condition. Psoriasis of the scalp can range from mild scaling to
extensive psoriasis characterized by thick and crusty plates.
The back of the scalp is commonly affected by this condition; however, psoriasis of the scalp may affect the entire scalp. This scalp disease is distinguished by the presence of white scaly patches on red skin which can extend beyond the hair line. This condition may also cause severe itching and can last for years.
Psoriasis of the scalp is difficult to tell apart from a bad case
of cradle cap. A severe occurrence of psoriasis of the scalp may
lead to lesions on the individual's face.
Treatment for Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a treatable condition. There is a wide range of medications
and treatments available; the type of treatment used will vary depending
on the type of psoriasis and the severity of the condition. Some
treatments for psoriasis are:
Oral drugs may also be used. This type of treatment does not only
affect the skin but the whole body system as well. The drugs used
for this type of treatment may have significant side effects and are
only prescribed for use in the treatment of severe cases of psoriasis.
- Lotions, ointments, creams and topical medications:
This type of medication may be used to treat mild and moderate
cases of psoriasis. However, it should be considered that topical
medications hardly ever clear the condition completely.
- Phototherapy may be used to treat moderate and severe
cases of psoriasis: This treatment involves the use of
ultraviolet B or UVB and psoralen with ultraviolet A or PUVA light.