Psoriasis can be a confusing condition to not only understand but also to treat and there are many questions about this condition that you may have. In order for this article not to turn into a book, here are some of the top 8 questions about psoriasis answered.
Psoriasis in simple terms represents an abnormal level of skin turnover that is more rapid than the average skin turnover which occurs every 22 to 30 days. Skin turnover with psoriasis is much faster than this average with new skin cells being produced at an alarming rate which commonly results in thick, raised areas of skin that are covered with silvery/white scales. The affected areas of skin are also usually red, inflamed and sensitive.
While psoriasis can affect any area of the body such as fingernails/toenails, joints (psoriatic arthritis), it commonly appears on the scalp, elbows, knees, small of the back as well as lower legs.
It is still unknown what triggers the development of this chronic skin condition. There are many theories that have been put forward with a family history being one of these theories. If one or both parents has the condition, there is an increased risk of developing this condition. However, this condition has been seen in people without a family history and it has also been shown that it may not be present in people with a family history so this disease is still very much confusing.
Other factors besides genetic factors have also been put forth such as malfunctioning immune system, environmental triggers, medications, skin injury, stress, etc. But family history is still an important marker as about 1/3 of psoriasis patients have a family history of this condition.
No. Psoriasis is not contagious but this may not stop other people from thinking that it is contagious unfortunately since the lesions are usually visible and “look” contagious to other people. But rest assured that psoriasis cannot be spread from person to person. It does not spread through contact. It is caused by an internal trigger in the body.
4. Does psoriasis itch?
The term psoriasis is derived from the Greek word “psora” which means “the itch”. However, this does not mean that the lesions will necessarily itch. When the flare-ups itch, it can be quite severe and be accompanied by a burning sensation but in most cases of psoriasis, there is no itch or not much of an itch. If the lesions do itch, you should avoid scratching them as this can make the lesions much worse.
A condition that is commonly characterized by itching skin lesions which is similar to psoriasis is eczema. Read more here about psoriasis vs eczema.
5. Is psoriasis painful?
This depends on the severity of the condition. Mild cases of psoriasis are not usually painful but severe cases can not only be painful but can be uncomfortable and cause emotional distress.
Psoriasis is rarely deadly. There are less common types of psoriasis that can lead to hospitalization or that can be fatal. Erythrodermic psoriasis is a severe form of psoriasis with widespread, red, swollen, itchy, painful lesions. When these areas of the skin are raw, it can lead to the formation of lakes of pus that ooze.
Hospitalization with this type may be necessary as it can be difficult to maintain the normal body temperature as well as the body’s normal fluid levels. The increased blood flow from this type of psoriasis at the site of the lesions can also lead to heart failure.
7. Does psoriasis spread on the body?
Psoriasis can appear on any area of the body. It can affect small areas of the body or large areas of the body. Where it appears as well as the severity is determined by internal factors and not by touching one affected area of the body with a non-affected part of the body.
8. Does psoriasis go away?
Only on very rare occasions does psoriasis clear spontaneously not to return for a long time if ever. More often than not, treatment will need to be sought to eliminate the lesions. It is important to remember that there is currently no cure for psoriasis although there are many treatment therapies that can help get rid of psoriasis and keep flare-ups to a minimum.
These are just a few common questions about psoriasis that you may have. Whatever the type of psoriasis you are struggling with whether mild or severe, you can overcome this condition. The best and more permanent way is using holistic methods such as those documented in the Psoriasis Free For Life guide.