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What is Psoriasis?

By: Jody Ehrhardt - Updated: 29 Nov 2012 | comments*Discuss
Psoriasis Skin Disease Red Patches

Psoriasis is a non-contagious skin disease that affects millions of people worldwide. Most commonly recognised by the occurrence of raised red patches on the skin this chronic or lifelong disease is caused by accelerated skin cell production that results in a build up of cells on the surface of the skin. Although between 80% and 90% of the population of psoriasis suffers experience the symptoms caused by the plaque form of this skin disease there are actually five main types of psoriasis.

Five Main Types

  • Plaque - This form of psoriasis is the most common type and is recognised by inflamed, red lesions most commonly found on the scalp, knees, elbows, or lower back. A silvery white scale usually covers these lesions.

  • Inverse - This form of psoriasis is recognised by the appearance of smooth red patches in the folds of the skin or in the areas of the armpits and groin. This type is more common in people who are overweight due to the occurrence of friction between skin surfaces.

  • Guttate - This type of the disease is typically found on larger, more varied areas of the skin and recognised by the appearance of small, drop-size red spots.

  • Erythrodermic - This form also covers larger areas of the body but is recognised by intense redness as opposed to small spots or lesions. This type is also accompanied by itching and pain and can have adverse effects on other conditions like heart disease and body temperature regulation.

  • Pustular - This form of psoriasis is unique in that it is characterised by the occurrence of white blisters that are surrounded by areas of red, irritated skin. The swollen lesions can appear on the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet and become quite painful as the condition progresses.

Watch for Triggers

Once you have identified the type of psoriasis that you are experiencing and followed your doctor's orders for treatment, it is time to chart the condition's triggers to help reduce or avoid future outbreaks.

The most common psoriasis trigger is stress. Episodes of stress can cause first time flair ups of this disease or work to increase the severity of a flare up. By practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, getting plenty of rest, and enjoying thirty minutes of exercise each day you can work to keep your psoriasis under control.

Certain prescription medications have been proven to increase the occurrence of psoriasis episodes. If you are taking a medication for heart disease, manic depression, high blood pressure, or arthritis it is best to consult with your doctor about the potential risk for developing this skin disease.

Many psoriasis suffers also feel that allergies, the weather, and diet choices can have an effect on the occurrence of psoriasis. Begin charting your outbreaks and symptoms in order to help you determine if these factors are a trigger for you.

Heal Your Whole Self

While this skin condition can be painful or uncomfortable at times, the most common complaint from patients is insecurity or lowered self-esteem. The scaly, red patches can be embarrassing especially if those around you do not recognise or understand psoriasis. To help you deal with these situations many psoriasis support groups exist on the Internet or in your hometown. Your doctor can also give you advice on ways to live comfortably both physically and emotionally with psoriasis.

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