What are the causes, symptoms, and triggers of psoriasis?

There are many different types of psoriasis. Knowing the type of your psoriasis can help you discover the best way to treat your problem.

Each different type elicits different symptoms and can be caused by different things. If you’re hoping to improve your symptoms, then it’s important to know the different symptoms and causes of psoriasis. Scientists aren’t entirely sure of the exact cause of psoriasis, but they have deduced some logical conclusions.

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What are the different types of psoriasis?


There are a few main types of psoriasis.

Plaque psoriasis is the most common variety. Plaques are the name given to the typical red patches associated with psoriasis. They can be itchy and painful.

Nail psoriasis affects the fingernails and the toenails, excessive casing growth, strange coloring, and loose nails.

Guttate psoriasis is the most common kind that affects younger adults and kids. It's usually first caused after a serious infection and usually causes smaller, scaly patches.

Inverse psoriasis affects the skin in hidden, damp areas like the armpits and the groin. This can be triggered by fungal infections.

There are less common varieties of psoriasis-like pustular psoriasis, marked by huge lesions that fill with pus. Erythrodermic psoriasis is very rare but can cover the entire body with a peeling rash that itches and burns.


How can I tell if I have psoriasis?


The signs and symptoms of the condition can vary for everyone, but usually include at least a couple of the following: red, patchy skin with scaly coating, little spots that grow scaly, dry skin that may crack or bleed, feeling itchy or burned, thick fingernails or toenails, and discomfort or swelling in your joints and bones.

Having one or two of these symptoms doesn't necessarily mean that you have psoriasis. You should talk to your doctor for a professional diagnosis.


What can trigger a psoriasis outbreak?


In relation to the way that psoriasis is caused by abnormalities in the gene code, certain conditions can cause these genes to be activated or to flare up.

The most common things that can cause a psoriasis flare-up are quite common. Skin injuries like cuts or scrapes can cause an outbreak, and they can also lead the way into developing an addiction, which is even more likely to cause an outbreak. Any infection can compromise your immune system to cause an outbreak - strep throat, bronchitis, the flu, etc.

Autoimmune conditions like HIV also make you much more likely to develop. Psoriasis can also be triggered by a number of medications like lithium, medications that affect blood pressure, and antivirals or anything that affects your immune system.


What do scientists think causes psoriasis?


The reason is not specifically understood, but current research suggests that the cause of psoriasis lies somewhere in the function of your immune system. One thing that researches have noticed among psoriasis patients is that some genes - little pieces of DNA that, in essence, give instructions to the cells in your organs and tissues - aren't working properly.

The genes that are in charge of your immune system don't transmit the same messages that they do in healthy people. Instead of triggering the immune system to fight off disease, it will trigger at seemingly random times, causing excessive inflammation that makes your skin cells overreact.

There are around 25 genes that have been indicated to have some sort of impact on psoriasis. Some combination of these, if mutated, can cause the condition.


How long do psoriasis outbreaks last?


Psoriasis is not usually in constant effect. The effects of psoriasis typically manifest in cycles, which can cause symptoms to be present for days, weeks, or even months. Typically after this, psoriasis falls into a remissive state for a length of time.

The size and severity of the affected skin can vary a lot, too. There might be a few small splotches of scales that look dry and dandruff-like or huge patches that cover big parts of your body and are very uncomfortable.


Can psoriasis lead to other problems?


Unfortunately, psoriasis can lead to a lot of other problems down the line. People who suffer from psoriasis will also be at a much greater risk of developing these diseases.

Psoriatic arthritis is a condition that almost exclusively occurs in people with psoriasis. Psoriasis can also cause eye problems. People with psoriasis are more likely to become overweight; the more serious psoriasis, the more serious the risk.

Psoriasis sufferers are also more likely to develop diabetes, cardiovascular problems, and other autoimmune diseases. If you suspect that you are developing any of these problems, talk to your doctor about taking steps to prevent their development.


Should I see a doctor?


If you're worried that you might be developing psoriasis, then you should probably see a doctor. Remember that not every itchy skin lesion will be psoriasis.

Still, you should get checked if symptoms persist, itchy lesions that cause any degree of pain. If it gets in the way of your daily life, it could develop into a serious problem. It also might help to seek medical attention if you're worried about the appearance of your skin.

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