Facts About Psoriasis
When most people think of psoriasis, they think of itchy, scaly patches on the skin, and little else. While it’s true psoriasis usually involves skin lesions, psoriasis is actually a complex group of conditions that doesn’t just affect the skin.
Let’s look at some facts about psoriasis that you may not be aware of.
1. Psoriasis Runs in Families
If you have a family member who has psoriasis, you are more likely to be diagnosed with the condition. Should you develop a skin condition and you have a relative that has a diagnosis of psoriasis, be sure to tell your health care provider. While psoriasis is often diagnosed by observation, skin scrapings may be taken to confirm the diagnosis.
2. People of Any Age Can Develop Psoriasis
Most people who have psoriasis are diagnosed in their mid-teens and mid-30s, but it can occur at any age. It may develop early in life — 10–15% of people who have psoriasis are diagnosed before the age of 10. However, psoriasis in infants is rare.
3. Plaque Psoriasis Is the Most Common Type
Ninety percent of individuals who have psoriasis are diagnosed with plaque psoriasis. Plaque psoriasis lesions are red, white patches, or silver colored. They can be intensely itchy and may crack and bleed.
They may arise anyplace on the body, however are most common on the scalp, lower back, elbows and knees. Psoriatic lesions may also affect the eyes, ears face, lips and buttocks. While uncommon, lesions may develop in the nose or mouth.
4. There Are Four Other Types, Too
In addition to plaque psoriasis, there are four other types of psoriasis. They are:
- Guttate Psoriasis — Guttate psoriasis may develop after an episode of strep throat. The lesions are widespread, often covering the entire body. Guttate psoriasis most commonly appears for the first time when people are children, teens or young adults.
- Inverse Psoriasis — Patches of inverse psoriasis are itchy, shiny and red and appear in skin folds. It most commonly affects the groin, armpits, backs of the knees and areas below women’s breasts. Lesions arise in the presence of heat, moisture and skin irritation. They may develop if other illnesses are present. If the lesions are in the groin; pain, cracking and a secondary fungal infection may develop. Painful lesions may develop on a man’s penis or in the rectum.
- Pustular Psoriasis — Pustular psoriasis lesions are characterized by red patches which contain lesions filled with pus. Like other forms of psoriatic lesions, pustular psoriatic lesions are not contagious. They most commonly appear on the hands and feet, however the lesions may occur on any part of the body.
- Erythrodermic Psoriasis — Erythrodermic psoriasis is a rare disease and can be fatal. It most commonly develops among individuals who suffer from unstable plaque psoriasis. Intensely itchy red lesions suddenly appear and cover the entire body. An intense fiery sensation occurs. The skin separates from an afflicted person’s body. Erythrodermic psoriasis is a medical emergency and requires immediate treatment.