Skin conditions can be difficult to identify and treat. They can be due to a wide range of causes such as a change in laundry detergent or an autoimmune condition. They can be influenced by food, stress, medications and weather. Some skin conditions are temporary such as poison ivy, while others are more permanent such as psoriasis.
Psoriasis is commonly considered a chronic immune issue affecting 3 percent of the population. About 1/3 of people with psoriasis have a family history and it does not discriminate amongst gender, race or age.
There are five types of psoriasis: plaque, guttate, inverse, pustular, and erythrodermic.
Plaque is the most common type and it is characterized by red, inflamed lesions with dry, silvery or white scales covering it. They are typically found on the elbows, knees, and in the scalp.
Guttate lesions are typically smaller than plaque and are more teardrop-shaped, covering the trunk, arms and legs (as opposed to knees or elbows).
Usually a streptococcal infection precedes guttate psoriasis.
Lesions found in the armpits, groin area and under the breasts that are shiny and red (not silvery scales) are known as inverse psoriasis.
Pustular lesions are made up of white blisters than can occur anywhere on the body.
Erythrodermic is a severe case where red, dry, scaling skin covers most of the body and can shed off in sheets.
Due to the inappropriate response of the immune system to the skin, psoriasis can put someone at risk for developing other autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, type-1 diabetes, and autoimmune thyroid.
Additionally, 30 percent of people with the skin lesions have a type of arthritis known as psoriatic arthritis.
Symptoms include painful, inflamed joints commonly at the ends of the fingers and toes, lower spine and sacrum. Often times this form of arthritis is mild. However it can be severe enough to cause deformities in the joints.
There is no formal test for psoriasis as diagnosis is often done based on sight, clinical symptoms and family history.