The Signs & Symptoms of Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a fairly common skin condition which causes irritation and redness. While the symptoms of psoriasis can vary, the most common symptoms associated with this medical condition include:
- Burning, itching, or sore sensations
- Skin that is extremely dry or cracked that may begin to bleed on occasion
- Patches of skin that are red and covered in silvery scales
- Small scaling spots on the skin (common in children with psoriasis)
- Swollen and stiff joints
- Thick, ridged, or pitted fingernails
Psoriasis symptoms can range in severity from just a few scaly spots to large patches of skin that are very red and irritated. While mild cases of psoriasis may not be more than a mere hindrance, the chronic cases can lead to permanent disfigurement.
Most people living with this medical condition experience varying periods where their symptoms flare for a couple weeks or months followed by a period of remission. A psoriasis flare-up can be quite debilitating depending on the severity.
Common Forms of Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a common skin disease in the U.S., but there is more than one type of psoriasis. Let’s take a look at some of the more common types and their symptoms:
- Plaque Psoriasis: The most common type is called plaque psoriasis. Symptoms of this disease include dry, raised, skin lesions (plaque) that has a reddish color and is covered in silvery scales. Plaque can be fairly itchy or even painful, and they can manifest on any part of the body (including the inside of the mouth and the genitals). The number of spots that appear varies from case to case, but the skin around the joints is often affected in more severe cases.
- Scalp Psoriasis: As you probably guessed from the name, this skin condition affects the scalp. It will appear as itchy, red areas accompanied by the silvery-white scales. If you have scalp psoriasis, then you might notice that you have some chronic dandruff, especially after scratching the scalp.
- Nail Psoriasis: Psoriasis often attacks places like the toenails or the fingernails, which causes the pitting, discoloration, and abnormal nail growth described above. If your nails are affected by this disease, they could become separated from the nail bed and fall out. In some instances, the nail actually crumbles away.
- Guttate Psoriasis: This is a form of psoriasis that has been diagnosed in someone under the age of 30. Most cases of guttate psoriasis were triggered by a bacterial infection, and it produces these small, water-drop-shaped sores which manifest on the scalp, arms, and legs. These tiny sores are also covered by a thin scale, but they are not as thick as the plaque produced by other forms of psoriasis. Some patients with guttate psoriasis may only experience a single outbreak, while others there will weather a series of episodes (might coincide with repeat respiratory infections).
- Inverse Psoriasis: This disease primarily affects the area underneath the breasts, armpits, or the area around the genitals and groin. The primary symptom of inverse psoriasis are these smooth patches of skin that are inflamed and reddish in color. This type of psoriasis tends to be diagnosed in people with a lot of extra body fat, as the inflamed skin is aggravated by friction and sweat.
- Erythrodermic Psoriasis: This is the least common type of psoriasis, but its symptoms can be rather severe. Erythrodermic psoriasis produces a red rash that itches, burns, and peels covering the entire body in some cases. Such things as severe sunburn, corticosteroids, and even milder forms of psoriasis could trigger this rare skin disease.
- Psoriatic Arthritis: In addition to the scaly, inflamed patches of skin and pitted fingernails, psoriatic arthritis can lead to swollen, stiff, and painful joints (similar to other forms of arthritis). Just like in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) these symptoms can affect any joint in the body, and they can range from mild to chronic. Unmanaged cases of psoriatic arthritis can cause permanent joint damage and eventually some minor deformity.
If you or a loved one have been experiencing any of the symptoms of psoriasis, then you should contact your primary physician to have a diagnosis confirmed. During your consultation, be sure to list any symptoms that you have to your physician, as this can be essential in making an accurate diagnosis. There are a number of treatments available for psoriasis, so ignoring any indications is not advisable.