A chronic disease of a non-infectious nature, which, according to statistical data, affects several percent of the entire population, is psoriasis, the symptoms of which are manifested in the form of focal rash, itching and intense peeling of the skin.
The disease can develop at any age and regardless of the social environment to which a person belongs. Psoriasis occurs equally in men and women. Most often, the disease affects young people under twenty.
Many people are interested in the question: "Does psoriasis itch, what are its symptoms and treatment, and most importantly, is it contagious? "Itching with psoriasis is found in almost 85% of cases, but the disease is not contagious at all and is not transmitted by airborne droplets or by household means. It is difficult to treat, but complex therapy almost always gives good results.
How is psoriasis manifested and what is this disease? Psoriatic plaques often develop first in areas that are subject to the most friction, such as the elbows or knees.
Also, signs of psoriasis can appear on absolutely any area of the skin - the head, face, back, abdomen, palms, feet, in the armpits and even on the genitals.
If we consider another similar disease - eczema, then it affects the inner part of the flexor surfaces, with psoriasis - the outer part of the knee and elbow joints.
Pathology is chronic in nature and has an undulating course, that is, a person's condition can improve under the influence of treatment methods or, on the contrary, worsen under the influence of negative factors, while remission and exacerbation are usually completely spontaneous.
Relapse can be caused by alcohol abuse, stress, infectious diseases. The severity of psoriasis varies from person to person, and even from the same person, throughout the course of the disease.
The main symptoms of skin psoriasis are plaques, which appear as minor lesions in certain areas. In some cases, they can cover the entire body.
Psoriasis progresses over time, especially if no appropriate measures are taken to correct it. The progression of the disease consists in an increase in the periods of exacerbations and an increase in the area of the lesion with the involvement of healthy areas of the skin in the inflammatory process. There are cases when the disease proceeded continuously without remission periods.
A pathology such as onychodystrophy - nail damage is very common. This disease can proceed on its own, without the attachment of a skin lesion. Also, psoriasis can contribute to the development of an inflammatory process in the joints - psoriatic arthritis (a disease of the small joints of the lower extremities and hands), and onychodystrophy is observed in about 15% of patients with psoriasis.
There are many different ways to deal with this ailment, but due to the tendency of the disease to constantly relapse and worsen, psoriasis is very difficult to treat. Complete healing is almost impossible, that is, it remains with a person until the end of his life, but with proper treatment and following all medical prescriptions, longer periods of remission can be achieved.
Today, medicine does not know the true cause of this pathology, but it has been proven that a malfunction in the immune system, neurological disorders and metabolic disorders can cause the disease. There are also a number of factors that can trigger the development of the disease:
- Genetic predisposition,in other words, simple heredity. Experts say that signs of psoriasis can be found in people whose blood relatives suffered from psoriasis. Moreover, if one of the parents is sick, the risk of developing the disease rises to 20%, and if both parents - up to 50%. This is due to the existence of certain genes responsible for the development of dermatological changes. The first signs of hereditary psoriasis appear, as a rule, before the age of 25.
- Neurological disorders.Any emotional shock, nervous strain, chronic fatigue can cause the development of the disease. In addition, in people with psoriasis, any stressful situation can provoke an exacerbation of the disease.
- Hormonal failure.All pathological changes in the functioning of the organs of the endocrine system can trigger the mechanism of the development of the disease.
- Violation of the metabolic process. Metabolic disorders associated with a lack of useful trace elements and vitamins in the body can cause psoriasis.
- Helminthic invasion.Some types of parasites can provoke an illness. Many laboratory studies were carried out, the results of which showed that many patients with psoriasis were infected with giardiasis, opisthorchiasis, ascariasis, enterobiasis. The thing is that in the process of their vital activity, helminths emit poisonous substances that poison the entire body. This leads to an exacerbation of chronic diseases and a significant decrease in immunity.
- Viral infections,which also attack the human immune system.
From the above, it becomes clear that the process of development of psoriasis, one way or another, is associated with disturbances in the work of the body's defense mechanisms. Psoriasis on the body can develop under the influence of a whole complex of triggers, or under the influence of factors such as unbalanced diet, climate change, alcohol abuse, and smoking.
The clinical picture and types of psoriasis
How does psoriasis start? The first symptoms of the disease are the appearance of reddish plaques and scaly patches that itch and look like lichen. Over time, the spots peel off, and a denser scaly layer is found under them.
When the disease begins to progress, the so-called Kenber phenomenon is observed, when plaques appear in places of skin trauma (with wounds, cuts, burns).
There are several types of psoriasis, each of which has a specific clinical picture:
- Plaque (true psoriasis)is the most common form of the disease, which occurs in more than 80% of all patients. The skin becomes inflamed, dry and thickened, with raised areas above it, which are covered with light silvery scales. The skin in these areas is hot to the touch and constantly flakes off. After peeling, reddish inflammatory foci are found, which are very often damaged and bleed. Inflammation can merge into large foci. With psoriasis of the elbows and knees, peeling is not so pronounced.
- Drop-shaped- there are many small dry inflammations of a rounded shape of red or purple color, rising above the surface of the skin. Guttate psoriasis covers large areas of the body. The first signs of the disease may occur after a previous sore throat or pharyngitis, which are caused by streptococcal infection.
- Pustularis the most complex form of the disease. It looks like foci of blistering rash raised above the surface of healthy skin. These bubbles are filled with exudate. Around the pustules, the skin turns red, swells, thickens and subsequently flakes off. When a secondary infection is attached, the blisters are filled with purulent fluid. Typically, this psoriasis is limited and affects specific areas, such as the lower leg and forearm. In severe cases, the inflammation begins to spread further along the surface of the skin, and the spots of the rash merge into one focus.
- Psoriatic arthritis- joints and connective tissue are involved in the pathological process. The main manifestation of this form is severe itching. In addition, the skin of the joints on the fingers becomes painful, swollen, peeling and flaking.
- Onychodystrophy (nail psoriasis)can look like mycosis. With such a disease, the appearance of the nails changes, they become brittle and exfoliate, the color of the nail bed and the plate itself may turn yellow or gray. Also, white spots, dots and transverse lines appear on the nails and under the nails. The skin under and around the nails becomes firm. Very often, onychodystrophy leads to the loss of nails.
Additional symptoms of psoriasis include:
- bleeding wounds (in places of skin trauma);
- nail erosion;
- intense itching;
- fever, swelling, and joint pain in psoriatic arthritis (not always).
How the disease proceeds
There are several stages in the course of the disease:
- Progressive.This is the initial stage of the disease. It is characterized by exacerbations, in which there is an increase in the number of new rashes.
- Stationary.At this stage, the picture of the disease remains unchanged, that is, the rash and other symptoms of psoriasis do not increase or decrease.
- Regression stage.The last stage of the disease, which proceeds without rashes.
Depending on the prevalence of the inflammatory process, the disease can be:
- limited- small areas of the skin are affected;
- common- large areas of the skin are affected;
- generalized- almost the entire surface of the body is affected.
Among other things, psoriasis is considered a seasonal disease, that is, all symptoms worsen depending on the season. Most people generally get worse in winter or summer. In some patients, this process is not associated with a change of season.
How is this disease diagnosed? The diagnosis of psoriasis is primarily based on an examination by a dermatologist. The examination allows you to identify the shape and extent of the lesion.
In some cases, differential diagnosis is carried out to distinguish psoriasis from another dermatological disease. How to recognize that a patient has this particular ailment?
As already mentioned, in psoriasis, the Kenber phenomenon is observed, which is not inherent in skin pathologies. Another symptom should also be taken into account, when a light rim appears around a new papule, which has not yet begun to peel off - a kind of vascular reaction, indicating the further progression of the disease.
Sometimes a skin biopsy is used to make the diagnosis more accurate, or tests are taken that can detect an inflammatory process in the blood. After the diagnosis of psoriasis has been carried out, you need to immediately start treatment.
The main therapy is the use of topical preparations in the form of ointments, gels, creams and sprays.
These medicines contain ingredients that stop excess cell division in the skin and relieve the unpleasant symptom of itching. A number of substances are distinguished that effectively fight this disease:
- Glucocorticoid hormones.They relieve inflammation and normalize the immune system.
- Vitamin D.The use of drugs with vitamin D will be most effective after the disease reaches the stationary stage, when the patient's condition is stable. Good results are obtained by taking such medicines in combination with ultraviolet irradiation procedures.
- Silicon.Improves the condition of the skin, has a sorbing effect and absorbs antigens that are involved in the development of the disease.
- Tarhas a good effect on the foci of inflammation, which are localized on the head.
- Lecithin.Promotes rapid tissue regeneration. Preparations with this substance help the body to deal with inflammation faster.
- Activated zincin a short time removes redness and relieves itching.
Patients are also prescribed drugs of the following groups:
- corticosteroids- normalize metabolic processes;
- cytostatics- prevent cell division, but can weaken the body's defense mechanisms;
- immunomodulators- also regulate immune responses, but their effectiveness is in question;
- non-steroids- relieve inflammation and itching.
Vitamin complexes are prescribed in combination with these drugs.
Along with drug treatment, the following methods are very popular:
- Hirudotherapy.Leech therapy improves blood circulation and normalizes immune mechanisms.
- Cryotherapy.A peculiar way of "freezing" relieves itching, swelling and inflammation.
- Ultraviolet irradiation.These short-term procedures are combined with the introduction of special drugs.
Attention!Self-medication for psoriasis is unacceptable, since many medications have contraindications and are prescribed by a specialist only taking into account the individual physiological characteristics of the patient.
Children usually have a less severe course of psoriasis than adults, so local therapy gives good results, and even in case of an exacerbation, a repeated course of treatment can achieve long-term remission.
Even if a child is diagnosed with a severe form, with timely adequate treatment, the prognosis will be more or less favorable.
The main rule for parents is to know how to identify the characteristic signs of psoriasis and immediately start fighting this disease!
Traditional medicine recipes are often used to treat psoriasis. Compresses based on medicinal herbs will be effective.
To make a compress, grind 4 tbsp. tablespoons of dry herbs and pour a glass of boiling water, then let it brew. In the broth, you need to moisten the gauze and apply to sore spots.
The following plants have healing properties:
- walnut leaves;
- sweet clover;
- black currant leaves.
You can also prepare an oral tincture. For this, 1 tbsp. a spoonful of dry herbs should be poured with a glass of boiling water, insisted for 8 hours, strain and drink 100 ml twice a day, preferably half an hour before meals. Suitable for herbal collection:
- St. John's wort;
Attention!Some of these herbs can cause side effects, therefore, before starting treatment, you must familiarize yourself with all contraindications.
Medicinal ointments for home treatment are very popular. Here are some effective recipes:
- Burn dry rose hips and mix ash with petroleum jelly. Ointment should be applied to the affected areas every day.
- Grind celandine leaves to make 2 tbsp. spoons, add lanolin and petroleum jelly. Ointment to treat inflamed skin.
- Mix the tincture of the string with lanolin and petroleum jelly and rub into psoriatic plaques.
- Grind the meadowsweet roots, mix with oil or petroleum jelly, boil the resulting ointment, cool and smear sore spots.
Soothing herbal teas are beneficial. They can be brewed from motherwort, oregano, chamomile, mint, thyme, valerian, linden, peony.
Traditional medicine does not guarantee 100% of the result, it is better to combine it with the main treatment.
Psoriasis and pregnancy
Many women with psoriasis who are in a position worry about how the disease will behave during this period.
Psoriasis is an unpredictable disease, so it is difficult to answer the question: “How to determine the course of the disease during pregnancy”. Symptoms of psoriasis may start to progress, remain stationary, or diminish. There are cases when after childbirth the disease disappeared completely.
Every pregnant woman worries that the disease can be transmitted to her baby, but not the disease itself is inherited, but only a predisposition to it.
During lactation, if mom is undergoing therapy with potent drugs, breastfeeding is very dangerous, as substances can harm the baby's health. In this case, you need to interrupt the treatment or transfer the baby to artificial feeding.
The disease does not affect the conception and intrauterine development of the fetus, but the drugs that the expectant mother takes can lead to negative consequences, so it is important to consult with your doctor during pregnancy planning, who will cancel some of them.
It is impossible to prevent this disease, but it is possible to significantly reduce its manifestations. In order to achieve a decrease in the symptoms of the disease, you need to adhere to the following preventive rules:
- Try not to get nervous and learn to keep your emotions under control. Natural sedatives can be used to ease this task.
- Reduce consumption of salty, smoked, spicy, fried and fatty foods, as well as honey, citrus fruits, chocolate and coffee.
- Wear clothes made from natural fabrics.
- Choose personal care products with low pH levels that won't dry out or irritate sore skin.
- Be careful with medications, as many of them can cause psoriasis flare-ups, antibiotics are especially dangerous.
- Quit smoking and alcohol.
- Avoid direct sunlight.
Psoriasis is one of the most common skin diseases, the nature of which is still not fully understood. The disease causes a lot of inconvenience, worsens the quality of life and lowers a person's self-esteem.
It can occur suddenly and, unfortunately, no one is immune from this disease. That is why it is very important to know how this pathology manifests itself in order to consult a doctor on time and start treatment.