The Signs & Symptoms of Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a fairly common autoimmune disease which affects the skin, causing irritation and redness. The most common signs and symptoms of psoriasis can vary between cases, but any of the following could be an indication of this autoimmune disorder:
- Patches of red skin that can be covered with silvery scales
- Tiny scaly spots (this is a common symptom in children with psoriasis)
- The skin becomes extremely dry, cracks, and can occasionally bleed
- Fingernails that become pitted, thicker, or ridged
- Stiff and swollen joints
- Itchiness, burning, or general soreness
The severity of these symptoms can range from only a few scaly spots to large patches that are fully inflamed. If you develop a more mild cases of psoriasis, then it could be little more than a hindrance. On the other hand, more severe cases can be difficult to treat and manage. These patients are often encouraged to enroll in a psoriasis clinical trial.
There are a variety of different forms of psoriasis, but most patients experience symptom cycles that alternate between flare-up periods and remission. If your symptoms go into remission, this does not mean that you have been cured. At this time there is no cure, but there are a variety of treatments available for psoriasis.
Common Forms of Psoriasis
The different types of psoriasis listed below are classified based on the symptoms they produce and the area of the body most affected.
- Plaque Psoriasis: This is the most common type of psoriasis, and the symptoms include reddish skin lesions (known as plaque) that get covered with silvery scales. Plaque can become quite painful and itchy, appearing on any spot on the body (including inside the mouth). There is no telling for sure how many plaques will appear, but the skin around the joints can begin to crack and bleed.
- Scalp Psoriasis: If your symptoms are localized around the scalp, you may experience some severe dandruff. Scalp psoriasis appears as itchy, red patches that can also have some silvery-white scales.
- Nail Psoriasis: In most cases, this autoimmune disease will affect the patient’s toenails or fingernails in some way. This could include abnormal nail growth, discoloration, and pitting. The patient’s nails may also begin to separate from the nail bed and become loose. If it is is severe enough, the nail could just crumble away.
- Inverse Psoriasis: This type of psoriasis affects the skin under the armpits, under the breasts, or around the genitals. The most common indication of inverse psoriasis is a smooth patch of red or inflamed skin. This disease is common among overweight people.
- Erythrodermic Psoriasis: This is the least common form of psoriasis. The symptoms can be quite severe, covering the whole body in a rash that itches, peels, and burns. There are a few factors which could trigger erythrodermic psoriasis, including sunburns, another form of psoriasis, or certain drugs.
- Psoriatic Arthritis: This disease causes the joints to become inflamed and achy (similar to rheumatoid arthritis), in addition to scales, pitted nails, and other common symptoms of psoriasis. Psoriatic arthritis can affect any joint in the patient’s body, with pain that ranges from severe to mild. While it is not usually as debilitating as other types of arthritis, it can lead to progressive joint damage when not treated.
If you believe that you may be experiencing the symptoms of psoriasis, then it is time to make an appointment with your doctor. Be sure to explain all of your symptoms to your doctor, as this will help ensure the most accurate diagnosis. There are treatments available for psoriasis, so the warning signs should not be ignored.