Plaque psoriasis, the most common form of psoriasis; is present in 80% of the total population affected by this chronic auto-immune skin disorder. It is characterized by an abnormality in the form of rapid turnover of the skin cells resulting in an overlapping growth.
Obtaining an adequate knowledge regarding plaque psoriasis would provide ease in the management and remove anxiety from people afflicted with this skin condition.
Distribution, Presentation, and Signs and Symptoms
Plaque psoriasis is characterized by patches of raised, reddish skin covered with silvery-white scales. The most common affected areas are the scalp, elbows, and knees. But it may also occur in other parts of the body like the palms, soles, and even the genitals. Characteristically, it affects the outer side of the joints; a differentiating factor in contrast to other skin disorders.
The plaques as well as the other skin changes are usually associated with complaints of itchiness. This may lead to inadvertent scratching that may lead to bleeding. The abnormal production of immature skin causes it to be more sensitive and fragile leading to breakage of the skin layer and leaving the area prone to injuries and infection.
Causes and Risk Factors
Theories have strongly suggested that heredity has something to do with psoriasis and its variety of presentations. Studies have also discovered the presence of certain genes that resulted from mutations that probably are the culprits in triggering an auto-immune response. Coupled with environmental factors, these genetic and heredity will lead to the development of psoriasis.
Environmental factors that have been revealed to be related to the triggering of the development of psoriasis ranges from simple injuries to viral infections; and to the extent changes in the mechanisms and the processes of the immune system.
The diagnosis of psoriasis and the determination of its type and presentation are officially done by a dermatologist and other primary care practitioners. In typical plaque psoriasis, the distribution and presentation are usually the same. It is the severity that is usually the aspect that needs more assessment.
In atypical psoriasis, a biopsy (a surgical removal of tissue or portion of the skin) is performed to supplement the diagnosis.
Like all other forms of psoriasis, plaque psoriasis is incurable and is characterized by periods of exacerbations and remissions. These changes in the condition come spontaneously and are usually triggered by several factors like the patient’s well-being, illness, stress, or other injuries.
The management of plaque psoriasis involves treating the signs and symptoms as they come and prevent complications. Treatment methods are chosen appropriately depending to the severity of the condition.
Mild psoriasis are usually treated with topical and localized medications and phototherapy, while moderate to severe psoriasis are treated with a more systemic approach using expensive and more harmful drugs.
Mild psoriasis can also be managed with medications that are readily available over the counter and by home remedies. Here are some of the home remedies that are used to manage mild psoriasis:
- Gentle Washing Techniques – Before applying any topical medication or any form of skin management, proper skin washing techniques must be developed to avoid causing injury to the already fragile skin. The abnormal skin layer built from the immature skin cells must be removed promptly to be able for the medications and sunlight to penetrate through the skin and produce its effects.
- Over the counter creams containing 1% hydrocortisone – 1% Hydrocortisone is a mild steroidal medication that can greatly help in improving and treating the signs and symptoms of mild psoriasis. This can be used topically.
- Tar – Tar is a by-product in oil production. A bunch of creams, lotions and shampoo contain tar. This can be useful in the management of scalp psoriasis.
- Sunlight – Numerous studies have already validated the beneficial effects of sunlight in the management of psoriasis.
As a conclusion, using the information about plaque psoriasis, the severe exacerbations can be avoided and remissions can be prolonged. Proper skin care and avoidance of skin irritation and injury must be practiced. And most importantly, self-care and independence must be maintained to ensure that this skin disorder would not hamper the affected individual’s life and work activities.