As long as humanity has existed on this planet, skin diseases have been making people’s life a misery. Whether it be teenagers suffering from acne breakout or adults experiencing never-ending dandruff, nearly every single person has a type of skin disorder. Thankfully, dermatology has advanced significantly in the last two decades, which has brought forward new treatments and medicines that are proving to be effective; however, what to do when a skin condition is not treated by dermatology? While most people suffer from dryness and itching, some develop red scaly patches, particularly, around the knees, elbows, and scalp that results in excessive itching, this condition is known as Psoriasis. Here are some interesting facts about Psoriasis:
1. Not the Single Type
Psoriasis is not just a single disorder but there are five types of psoriasis, and the term psoriasis is generally used for all of them:
- Plaque Psoriasis
- Erythrodermic psoriasis
- Guttate psoriasis
- Inverse psoriasis
- Pustular psoriasis
2. Plaque Psoriasis Above All
Among all the types of psoriasis, plaque psoriasis is the most common, and in all the patients that suffer from psoriasis, 80% to 90% are diagnosed with plaque psoriasis. When someone contracts psoriasis, their skin develops thick red patches that are covered in a scaly layer that is usually white or silver in color, these patches are called plaques. They can appear anywhere on the body, and scratching them tends to inflame them resulting in bleeding.
3. Life-Threatening Psoriasis
Although all the mentioned types of psoriasis are chronic, none are life-threatening except Erythrodermic psoriasis. While it is rare, it is an aggressive form of plaque psoriasis that can cause peeling rashes, which often burn, and spreads quickly to other parts of the body. As it progresses, patients experience severe illness from loss of protein or swelling because of excessive fluid retention, sepsis, and congestive heart failure. On their own, these diseases are non-lethal; however, combined with erythrodermic psoriasis, they can cause death.
4. Not Just a Skin Disorder
Most people understand psoriasis as a skin condition but it affects more than just the skin. It often results in chills, fever, and if that was not enough, psoriasis also targets bones, muscles, and the metabolic system.
5. Not treated by Dermatologist
As mentioned briefly in the introduction, psoriasis is not treated by a dermatologist, even though it affected the skin. Interestingly, psoriasis causes complications like psoriatic arthritis that cause pain and stiffness of large joints and in the lower body, therefore, it is treated by a rheumatologist, a physician that deals with musculoskeletal and autoimmune diseases. Additionally, it becomes essential that treatment is initiated as soon as possible to avoid permanent joint damage.
6. It is Not Contagious
As it is with every infectious disease, people are afraid that they might catch psoriasis via simply being in close proximity of a patient. Thankfully, it is nothing but a misconception, and it is not spread by any form of physical contact or even by swimming with the patient.
7. Not a Result of Poor Hygiene
Dry skin or any skin-related disease is often attributed to poor hygiene, and most people believe that psoriasis occurs because of poor hygiene; however, it is also a misconception. Moreover, it doesn’t get better or worsen by proper or poor hygiene, respectively. The reason behind this mentality is that fungal infections often target warm and moist body parts where psoriasis usually occurs.
8. Then, What Causes Psoriasis?
To this day, scientists are still unclear as to what exactly causes psoriasis; however, they strongly believe that autoimmune conditions might be causing psoriasis, it also causes diseases like Rheumatoid arthritis. Autoimmune disease is the body’s immune system targeting healthy cells in the body. These conditions affect T cells of the immune system, these cells are born in the bone marrow, and are utilized by the body to protect itself from infections and even cancer.
9. Blame the Genes!
While the cause of this disorder is still unclear, scientists confirm that genetics have a huge role in psoriasis. They found that certain genetic markers are linked with the activation of Th17 cells, which are responsible for inflammation in psoriasis. Moreover, in a study, they found that around 40% of the patients that were suffering from psoriasis had at least one ancestor with psoriasis.
10. Ticking Time Bomb
As mentioned previously, psoriasis occurs mostly because of genetics; however, it is sealed away from birth and doesn’t occur until a person starts to experience certain triggers. Stress, above all, compromises a person’s immune system, which results in psoriasis breakout. Additionally, sunburn, injuries including small cuts or scratches, and even getting a new tattoo can activate psoriasis. Moreover, certain diseases that enable the immune system can also cause this condition such as strep throat and bronchitis.