What Are the Symptoms of Psoriasis?
Most people who have psoriasis have plaque psoriasis. It affects 90 percent of individuals who have psoriasis. There are also four other kinds of psoriasis that affect the skin, while psoriatic arthritis primarily affects the joints. Signs and symptoms of the various types of psoriasis vary.
Your doctor can examine skin lesions and determine if they are a type of psoriasis. Sometimes, health practitioners take a small scraping of lesions. They send them out to a lab for a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. Your doctor will ask you if other family members have psoriasis, as it tends to run in families.
Psoriasis affects people of all ages. It is rare in infancy; however 10-15 % of people who have psoriasis develop symptoms before the age of 10. Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 35 years of age.
Symptoms of Plaque Psoriasis
Plaque psoriasis shows up as raised, red lesions, which have white or silver-colored areas. The lesions are called plaques. Cells within the plaques multiply more than 1,000 times faster than healthy skin cells, which causes thickening of the skin. If you have plaque psoriasis, even your healthy skin cells, which do not create lesions, multiply at twice the rate of the skin cells of people don’t have psoriasis.
Psoriasis white patches and silver areas are accumulations of dead skin cells. Plaque psoriasis may affect all parts of the body, though lesions are most common on the scalp, knees, lower back, and elbows. Plaques on the buttocks may be exceptionally large and thick. You may find that the lesions feel itchy or cause pain. They may crack and bleed.
You may develop lesions on your scalp. Your head may feel itchy and scales and crust areas may arise. The lymph nodes in your neck may swell. Scalp psoriasis lesions are pale in color, like powder. They usually have a shiny, silvery sheen to them. This differentiates the lesions from other types of scalp conditions including seborrhea. Seborrheic lesions are oily and yellow.
Facial psoriasis may develop around your forehead, eyebrows, hairline, and over your upper lip. Scales may cover your eyelashes. Psoriasis may even affect the eye itself. Signs of eye involvement include redness, dryness, pain and visual impairment. However, psoriasis of the eye is very rare.
Also rare is psoriasis of the ear. The scales may impair your ability to hear. Ear psoriasis most commonly occurs within the canal of the ear. It does not usually develop behind the eardrum.
Next page: more on plaque psoriasis plus guttate, inverse, and pustular psoriasis.