August is psoriasis awareness month. It is a time to spread awareness and educate ourselves about a condition that affects almost 8 million people in the United States alone. There is a common misconception that psoriasis is merely a skin condition. While it typically presents itself on the surface of the skin, yes, it is actually a chronic and long-lasting disease that affects the immune system. Symptoms may range from mild to severe, but both require treatment as early as possible. This is why it is so important to raise awareness about this disease: early detection means more manageable symptoms and higher success rates for treatments. Psoriasis treatment options have grown in number and have improved remarkably over the years in the fight to treat the symptoms of psoriasis. A number of psoriasis sufferers (in the past) may have believed nothing could be done for them, or that they couldn’t afford treatments, or maybe they were too embarrassed about their condition to talk about it. But now there is hope.
What is psoriasis disease?
Psoriasis is considered an autoimmune condition that causes a rapid buildup of skin cells in the epidermis. So, what is psoriasis caused by? Normal functioning skin cells are typically born deep in the skin and eventually rise to the outermost layer before falling off the body, thus completing a cell’s lifecycle. The entire lifecycle of a skin cell should only last about one month. However, in patients who suffer from psoriasis, cell production is sped up drastically. As a result, the natural order of skin cell production and replacement is interrupted, and a buildup of skin cells may occur. This cell buildup can cause a few different complications that typically show up on the top layer of a patient’s skin when psoriasis is present. Affected areas are most often the hands, feet, neck, scalp and face. It may also (less commonly) be found in the nails, mouth, and around the genitals. These are considered the hotspots to keep an eye on when determining what is psoriasis disease and what isn’t.
How do you get psoriasis, and what are the symptoms?
Before we discuss the symptoms of psoriasis, it is important to ask the question, “How do you get psoriasis?” While the exact origin of psoriasis remains up for debate, some of the suspected causes of psoriasis are: stress, injury to skin (such as cuts, scrapes, burns), infection (such as strep or thrush), and medications (such as lithium, antimalarials, quinidine, indomethacin). However, the most key factor in psoriasis diagnoses is the immune system. Although the immune system is meant to keep you free of infections and generally healthy, it is not an infallible system of the body. When a patient is diagnosed with psoriasis, they typically have an overactive immune system. This overactivity creates skin cells at a faster rate than what is needed as an inflammatory response to a threat (or perceived threat) from infection etc. As a result of the overproduction of skin cells, psoriasis may occur. So, what are the symptoms of psoriasis? Symptoms of psoriasis include:
- Red, raised, and inflamed patches of skin
- White or silver-white scales or plaques on top of red patches
- Dry skin (cracking and bleeding may occur)
- Soreness in the vicinity of patches Itching and burning
- Thick, pitted nails
- Swollen joints and joint pain
What are my psoriasis treatment options?
As we mentioned earlier, psoriasis treatments options have come a long way in terms of their efficacy and affordability. The first thing you should do is seek help from a licensed dermatologist as soon as you notice any of the symptoms of psoriasis. In order to help prevent skin diseases, such as psoriasis, yearly skin check ups are an essential practice. If your primary care physician does not do regular skin check ups, you should schedule a yearly exam with a licensed dermatologist. If you are diagnosed with psoriasis, one of the most effective treatments available to you is laser therapy. Laser therapy clears up patches of psoriasis on your skin faster than natural sunlight or artificial UV light. It also requires less therapy sessions than other treatments, and is considered one of the most popular psoriasis treatment options available today.
Psoriasis Treatment in Miami, FL
Schedule an appointment to learn more about psoriasis treatment at our office in Doral, Miami Beach, or Aventura, FL by clicking here. Alternatively, you can call our office on 305.615.2440.