Introduction to Psoriasis Module
Working in the field of health and beauty we come across many clients who may have skin disorders that we cannot treat but must be aware of. One of these conditions is known as Psoriasis. Psoriasis affects about 7.4 million people in the U.S. Due to its affect on the skin, it can alter the way we are able to treat a client. There are five different types of psoriasis; plaque psoriasis, guttate psoriasis, pustular psoriasis, inverse psoriasis, and psoriatic erythroderma. During this psoriasis module we will be reviewing the symptoms and treatments for each type of psoriasis. But first, there are some basic facts about psoriasis we must explore first.
Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition that causes the rapid build-up of skin cells. These extra skin cells form scales and red patches on the skin that may be itchy and painful. Psoriasis typically develops on the joints, such as the elbows and knees, however it can also appear on other body parts such as the hands, feet, neck, scalp, face, nails, mouth, and genitals. The average age of people diagnosed with psoriasis for the first time is between fifteen and thirty-five years old. Sometimes, there can be a second peak in the disease during their late fifties and early sixties. Only ten to fifteen percent of psoriasis diagnoses come before the age of ten. Psoriasis affects 1.9% of African Americans and 3.6% of Caucasians and affects both male and female equally. Although there is no cure for psoriasis, there are ways to manage symptoms. Psoriasis is known as a chronic disease, but with the right treatment there can be periods of remission. Psoriasis is not contagious but has been associated with other conditions. These conditions include, type 2 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, heart disease, psoriatic arthritis, anxiety, and depression.
Psoriasis Causes and Diagnosis
There are two different possible causes for a psoriasis outbreak; genetics and a compromised immune system. Different types of psoriasis can be passed down through generations, however only two to three percent of people with the gene will eventually develop the condition. An abnormality in the immune system or an autoimmune disorder is a result of the body attacking itself. Experts do not know why exactly this happens, but in the case of psoriasis the white blood cells known as T cells attack the skin cells. This mistaken attack causes the skin cell production to kick into overdrive. There are several common factors that have been known to trigger a psoriasis outbreak. These triggers include stress, excess alcohol, injury to the skin, certain medications, infection in the body, a vitamin D deficiency, smoking, and obesity. Psoriasis can be diagnosed by a physician in two ways; physical examination or skin biopsy. With a physical examination the doctor will observe each area of the skin affected. Through a skin biopsy the physician may take a small sample from one area where the skin is affected. The physician will also need to determine the severity of the psoriasis. Severity is determined by how much of the body is affected and how it affects daily life. There are three different levels of severity; mild, moderate, and severe. Mild psoriasis covers about three percent of the body, moderate psoriasis covers about three to ten percent of the body, and severe psoriasis covers about ten percent or more of the body. Now that we have some general knowledge about psoriasis, lets dive into each type of psoriasis in detail.