What is Plaque Psoriasis?
Plaque psoriasis is the most common type of the disease and it affects almost 80 percent of the people who have been diagnosed with psoriasis. It is not a contagious disease and cannot be spread through contact. This type of psoriasis leads to thicker, red skin that is covered in a layer of white, or silver flakes of dead skin called scales. It can be treated once it is diagnosed.
This type of psoriasis is caused by a speeding up of the process that replaces dead skin. In the average person, new skin cells form deep within the skin tissue and over the course of approximately one month, they rise to the surface of the skin to replace dead skin cells. Because psoriasis speeds this process up, the new skin cells rise to the surface much faster, and that leads to the thicker skin with a red, or pink, appearance. It also means that the surface skin cells die faster and that leads to the flakes, or scales.
While it can manifest on any area of the skin’s surface, usually the lesions will appear near or around the knees, elbows and the lower back. However, just because a rash does not begin in one of those areas, a person cannot rule out this type of psoriasis. In fact, a lesser known, but sometimes more aggravating symptom of this disease is chronic, heavy dandruff on the scalp.
Plaque psoriasis needs a trigger to begin.
Research indicates that this type of psoriasis can begin from early puberty all the way up through middle age. That same research also indicates it has a genetic component and usually affects those with family histories. The symptoms of psoriasis appear in most cases after another condition triggers them.
Common triggers are too little or too much sunlight, which can lead to sunburn, bacterial infections or viral infections, skin injuries, stress, a reaction to a specific kind of medication, or even the abuse of alcohol. Once triggered, it will continue until treated, or until the triggering event subsides. In some cases, psoriasis will run its course and be asymptomatic until the next triggering event. A weakened immune system can also lead to severe psoriasis. People diagnosed with AIDS or people on chemotherapy treatments may suffer from extremely severe outbreaks.
How is plaque psoriasis diagnosed?
Diagnosis can be difficult, and sometimes a diagnosis is missed because of other symptoms which may be confusing leading to a mis-diagnosis of rash, infection or pustular psoriasis. For instance, in some cases a deep joint pain is a symptom. However, this may lead a doctor to perform x-rays to rule out arthritis, and to temporarily prescribe an anti-inflammatory drug that might exacerbate the symptoms.
In some cases, a doctor or nurse can diagnose this variety by simply looking at the skin. In many cases, a sample of skin will need to be examined microscopically to determine that the condition is present. The good news is that once an accurate diagnosis has been made, it is possible to treat the disease and to prevent it from causing a secondary infection on the skin. It is important to remember that only a medical professional can accurately diagnose psoriasis, and if you are suffering from some of these symptoms, you should seek professional advice before attempting to treat them with a spray or cream.