Psoriasis is an incurable, chronic condition that alters a skin cell’s life cycle. Its sufferers sometimes become frustrated because symptoms tend to periodically improve, then get worse. Treatment strives to prevent overly rapid growth of skin cells and can bring patients substantial relief.
Signs of Psoriasis
There are at least eight types of psoriasis, according to the Mayo Clinic. Among the most common are plaque, nail and scalp psoriasis. Symptoms vary not only according to the type of the disorder, but also from one patient to another.
WebMD reports that all types of psoriasis share these major symptoms:
- Bright red skin patches that are raised; typically covered by silvery scales; and occur on the elbow, knee or lower back
- Very small areas where bleeding occurs when scales have been removed or scraped
- Scalp accumulations ranging from mild scaling to plaques that are thick and crusted
- Some itching, particularly when patches occur in body folds
- Nails that are pitted or discolored
Less-common signs include plaques that form in the same place on both sides of the patient and flares of patches shaped like raindrops. Some patients experience pain, tenderness and swelling of their joints. In some cases, patches of psoriasis form after skin injuries such as overexposure to sun or a cut.
Psoriasis & Eczema
Similar symptoms appear with psoriasis and several other disorders, and some are the result of reactions to medications. Psoriasis and eczema are fairly common skin disorders that are often mistaken for each other, according to Livestrong. Experts believe that both conditions are linked to autoimmune problems. However, while psoriasis changes the manner of production of skin cells, eczema boosts their sensitivity to environmental factors.
In attempting to diagnose Eczema versus psoriasis, doctors note:
- Both appear on any part of the body, but eczema tends to develop on bend areas, such as those of the elbows and knees.
- Eczema patches are usually red to brown, with bumps that ooze fluid. Psoriasis lesions look thick, with silver scales that top red patches.
- Many psoriasis patients show signs of a particular kind of arthritis, while those with eczema frequently have asthma or allergies.
- While some itching occurs with psoriasis, with eczema, the sensation is almost always present and is often the worst at night.