Psoriasis: A Clinical Look at the 7 Different Types
Psoriasis is a type of autoimmune disease that typically affects the skin and is very common. In fact, it is the most common autoimmune disease in the United States. People who suffer from psoriasis tend to suffer from sensations of burning, itching and soreness on the skin, as well as patches of red or scaly skin.
You may have heard of psoriasis before, but did you know that there are actually several different types of psoriasis? That’s right and it is important to know what type of psoriasis you have! Knowing is that rash is a sign of plaque psoriasis, guttate psoriasis or even a different medical condition can help you and your doctor determine the best treatment plan for you.
You should also note that although you will typically only have one type of psoriasis at a time, it is possible to suffer from more than one type at the same time. If you are exhibiting the symptoms of more than one type of psoriasis, be sure to discuss this with your doctor.
Our team of medical professionals at Avail Clinical Research is dedicated to helping provide you and others suffering from psoriasis with better treatment options and a better understanding of this condition through psoriasis clinical studies. This article is provided to help you better understand the types of psoriasis out there and how to identify them.
The most common form of psoriasis is plaque psoriasis. It is estimated that around 80% people living with psoriasis have plaque psoriasis. Plaque psoriasis commonly affects the scalp, lower back, knees and elbows, but it can show up anywhere on the body. The common symptoms of plaque psoriasis include:
- Red patches of skin with silvery, white scales
- An itching sensation around the affected area
- A burning sensation around the affected area
Unlike plaque psoriasis, erythrodermic psoriasis is the least common form of psoriasis. This is a much more serious form of psoriasis that causes inflammation and red, irritated skin across all or most of the body. Other symptoms can include:
- An increased heart rate
- Changes in body temperature and chills
- Severe peeling, itching and burning sensations
It is important to seek medical attention immediately if you notice these symptoms. Erythrodermic psoriasis can lead to infection, congestive heart failure, pneumonia or severe illness from fluid and protein loss, requiring hospitalization.
Erythrodermic psoriasis can be triggered by a number of things, including:
- Severe sunburn
- An allergic reaction
- Stopping systemic psoriasis treatment abruptly
Guttate psoriasis is a type of psoriasis that commonly occurs in children and young adults. It affects about 10% of people living with psoriasis and usually people under the age of 30. This form of psoriasis is characterized by small, water drop sized spots of red on your skin that commonly appear on the upper arms, scalp, trunk or thighs.
Guttate psoriasis usually appears after an upper respiratory infection or a cold. Other triggers can include:
- Skin injury
- Strep throat
This is a form of psoriasis is most common in people who are overweight. It develops as a very bright red patch of skin that is smooth and shiny. However, unlike plaque psoriasis, the red patches of skin from inverse psoriasis are not covered with silvery, white scales.
The areas of the body most commonly affected by inverse psoriasis include:
- The buttocks
- Under the breasts
- The genitals
- Skin folds
- Behind the ears
Inverse psoriasis is typically triggered by friction and sweating. It can also be triggered by a buildup of yeast.
This type of psoriasis is an unfortunate situation where you suffer from both psoriasis and arthritis. People live with psoriasis for a period of about 10 years before arthritis begins to develop for the majority of people living with psoriatic arthritis.
If you are concerned you may be suffering from psoriatic arthritis, symptoms to look out for are:
- Discolored, warm joints
- Stiff and painful joints, especially in the morning or after resting
- Swelling in the fingers and toes
Fortunately, this is not a very common form of psoriasis. Pustular psoriasis is characterized by white, sometimes noninfectious pus filled blisters, surrounded by areas of red skin.
Typically, pustular psoriasis only affects one part of the body, such as the hands or feet. However, it can cover the majority of the body. If you are suffering from widespread pustular psoriasis, called generalized pustular psoriasis, be sure to seek medical attention right away.
Triggers for pustular psoriasis can include:
- Medications such as systemic steroids
- Stopping certain medications
- Absorbing too much sunlight without using sunscreen
As the name suggests, nail psoriasis is a type of psoriasis that affects your fingernails and toenails. It affects around half of the people living with psoriasis and is especially common in people with psoriatic arthritis. If you have nail psoriasis, you have a higher likelihood of developing a fungal infection as well.
Symptoms of nail psoriasis include:
- Painful, tender nails
- Color changes (typically brown-yellow nails)
- Pitting in your nails
- The nail separating from the bed
- Chalk-like material under the nails
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of the several different types of psoriasis and the symptoms associated with them. Remember that knowing what your symptoms are and identifying what type of psoriasis you are living with can greatly help you and your doctor develop the best treatment plan for your situation.