PSORIASIS. CAUSES, SYMPTOMS, VARIETIES, TREATMENT METHODS.

Published At: 26 December 2019 , 03:45 PM

Psoriasis is a non-infectious inflammatory skin disease, usually manifested in the form of dry red plaques raised above the surface of the skin (papules). Psoriatic plates always have a distinct border and are generally covered with small scales of white or silver color. This disease is sometimes called squamous lichen, but unlike other types of lichen, psoriasis is not contagious.

Psoriasis can occur at any age, but most often psoriatic plaques occur between the ages of 16-22, or from 57 to 60 years. According to some studies, men have psoriasis more often than women.

The disease is chronic. It is customary to talk not about curing psoriasis, but about remissions (that is, the absence of symptoms). Psoriasis does not pose a threat to life. In the vast majority of cases, it does not affect the general condition of the body, but it causes a lot of inconveniences and can spoil a person's life.

Causes of psoriasis

The causes of psoriasis are not fully identified. The mechanism of the disease is associated with a violation of cell division of the skin, which, in turn, causes a reaction of the immune system. A similar response is among the autoimmune ones, because it arises in response to a malfunction in the body itself, and not to the penetration of a threat from outside.

The upper layer of the skin - the epidermis - is formed mainly by keratinocytes - cells that produce keratin protein, whose properties provide a protective function of the skin. Keratinocytes nucleate deep in the epidermis and slowly migrate to its surface, gradually ripening and gaining new properties. The completion of their development is accompanied by the formation of a stratum corneum on the very surface of the skin. The keratinocyte pathway ends with keratinized cells exfoliating, giving way to new cells. Thanks to this, the skin is continuously updated.

Usually, the path of keratinocytes from the deep (basal) layer to the surface of the epidermis takes about a month. With psoriasis, this process is significantly accelerated and averages four days. The skin cannot get rid of so many keratinized cells so quickly. As a result, there are visible seals and scales characteristic of psoriasis.

Redness and itching that accompany the occurrence of psoriatic plaques are caused by an autoimmune reaction that affects not only the epidermis but also the deeper layers of the skin. As a result, the dermis becomes inflamed and swells - the main, thick layer of the skin in which the nerves, blood and lymph vessels are located.

But why does keratinocyte formation intensify? This question cannot be answered unequivocally. It is established that heredity is of great importance. Provoke the development of psoriasis can such factors as:

mental trauma and chronic stress;

infectious disease;

skin injuries;

some medications;

hormonal changes in the body;

allergy (exacerbate the course of the disease, for example, citrus fruits, eggs, chocolate);

alcohol intoxication;

climate change.

Symptoms of Psoriasis

The main symptoms of psoriasis are:

characteristic rashes;

a feeling of tightness of the skin in the affected area;

severe itching.

Psoriatic plaques can appear in various places. However, there is a typical localization. It:

elbows and knees;

sacrum and lower back;

Scalp. Psoriasis of this localization is called  seborrheic psoriasis ;

Flexion surfaces and folds of the skin (inner coating of the elbow and knee joints, groin and armpits, the area under the chest). In this case, they talk about reverse psoriasis. Spots with reverse psoriasis are smooth, they do not rise above the surface of the skin and are very rarely covered with scales;

Palms and surface of the feet. Such psoriasis is called palmar-plantar. At the same time, the skin in the affected areas coarsens, becomes covered with cracks and flakes.

The following varieties of psoriasis are also distinguished:

Nail psoriasis

Teardrop-shaped psoriasis

Pustular psoriasis

Psoriatic erythroderma

Psoriatic arthritis

Psoriasis Treatments

Psoriasis is treated individually.

In some cases, the disappearance of psoriasis is relatively easy. Teardrop-shaped psoriasis is the mildest and often resolves on its own. However, in any case, if psoriatic plaques are found, you should consult a doctor. Self-treatment of psoriasis is dangerous: psoriasis can take more severe forms, or the area of ​​damage will expand.

The following types of psoriasis are most difficult to treat:

palmar-plantar;

seborrheic psoriasis;

reverse psoriasis;

psoriatic arthritis.

The choice of treatment method is carried out by the attending dermatologist. In this case, the doctor chooses the mildest exposure options to exclude possible side effects and worsening of the disease.

Psoriasis patients, first of all, can be advised to try to reduce anxiety and exclude the most allergenic foods from the diet. Compliance with nutrition, the correct regimen of the day, smoking cessation and drinking are in themselves a significant contribution to treatment.

What are the most common disease myths?

Psoriasis is contagious.  No, psoriasis is a chronic non-infectious skin disease that does not spread from person to person and does not migrate from one part of the body to another. A patient who has psoriasis can freely visit public places - baths, saunas, swimming pools, use everyday household items, undergo treatment for non-dermatological diseases in general hospitals.

The climate affects the incidence and, if you move to warmer countries, psoriasis will not. No, the weather does not affect the prevalence of psoriasis. At the same time, one of the methods of its treatment is heliobalneotherapy - treatment with the sun and seawater; however, living in regions with a warm sea climate does not protect patients from exacerbations. A simple example is Israel: they successfully treat psoriasis in the resorts of the Dead Sea, but the incidence among the population is not lower than the global average.

Psoriasis can be prevented.  Exacerbation factors, neither by themselves nor in various combinations, are the cause of the disease. Today it is unknown what serves as the initial impetus for the development of psoriasis, and therefore it is impossible to take preventive measures. There are no recipes for what to do, or, on the contrary, what not to do so as not to get psoriasis. To increase the period of remission, when there are no rashes on the skin, it is possible to avoid the action of factors provoking or worsening the course of psoriasis, leading a proper lifestyle and using supportive therapy.

Psoriasis can be treated with the methods of so-called traditional medicine. Attitude to such methods in patients should be cautious. On the one hand, we know that there is no "cure" for psoriasis; however, the desire to get rid of the disease at any cost pushes patients to various dubious actions (appeal to healers, healers), and this is a waste of money. On the other hand, these "healers" offer patients, for example, external remedies, "their development", in which, as a rule, hormones are present. Still, in this case, the regimen and their dosage cannot be controlled in any way.

What is important for a patient with psoriasis to know and what to keep in mind?

The main principle can be considered: "learn to live with psoriasis." The current treatment methods allow not only to achieve remission (skin cleansing) but also, to some extent, control psoriasis (prolonged remission).

It is necessary to follow the recommendations of the doctor and have patience, because everything takes time, including the fact that the drugs work. An incomplete course, the use of several methods at the same time (in particular, from the "advised" series) leads to the fact that the patient, not seeing the proper result, is disappointed and believes that these methods do not help him.