Psoriasis is a common skin condition that causes redness and irritation. The signs and symptoms of psoriasis will vary from case to case, but in general the most common psoriasis symptoms include the following:
- Small scaling spots (these are commonly seen in children)
- Red patches of skin that are covered in silvery scales
- Extremely dry or cracked skin that may occasionally bleed
- Itching, burning, or sore sensations
- Finger nails that are ridged, thicker, or pitted
- Swollen and stiff joints
Psoriasis symptoms can range in severity from only a few spots of scaling skin to fully irritated patches that cover a broad area of the body. If you have a mild case of psoriasis, it may only be somewhat of a hindrance with proper treatment, but more severe psoriasis symptoms can be disfiguring and even debilitating.
Most forms of psoriasis go through cycles where patients experience flare-ups that can last for a few weeks or months. Then psoriasis symptoms subside or even go into remission for some time. Unfortunately, the disease will eventually return after going into remission.
The Symptoms of Different Types of Psoriasis
As mentioned earlier, this is a common skin condition, but there are actually several types of psoriasis out there. These include:
- Plaque Psoriasis: This is the most common form of psoriasis. Primary symptoms include dry, raised, reddish skin lesions (these are called plaque) that are covered in silvery scales. These plaques could be painful or they may be itchy, but they can appear anywhere on the patient’s body (including the genitals and the soft tissue inside the mouth). The amount of plaque that develops on the skin will vary from person to person. If it is a severe case, the skin around the patient’s joints could become cracked and bleed.
- Nail Psoriasis: Psoriasis tends to afflict areas like the fingernails and toenails, leading to abnormal nail growth, pitting, and discoloration. Nails affected by psoriasis may separate from the nail bed (onycholysis) and become loose. In the most severe cases, the nail itself can actually crumble.
- Scalp Psoriasis: If psoriasis starts to afflict the scalp, it will appear as itchy, red areas accompanied by the silvery-white scales. Patients with scalp psoriasis may notice more severe dandruff (flakes of dead skin that appears in the hair or on the shoulders) after scratching their head.
- Guttate Psoriasis: This form of psoriasis is usually diagnosed in people younger than 30, and it is usually triggered by some type of bacterial infection such as strep throat. The primary symptom of guttate psoriasis is these tiny, water-drop-shaped sores which can appear on the arms, scalp, and legs. These sores are covered by a thin scale, but they aren’t as thick as the normal plaques. Patients may experience a solitary outbreak that disappears on its own, or they could experience multiple episodes (tends to coincide with repeat respiratory infections).
- Inverse Psoriasis: This skin condition primarily affects the skin of the armpits, under the breasts, around the genitals or groin. Inverse psoriasis will produce these smooth patches of reddish, inflamed skin. Most cases are diagnosed in people who are overweight, and it tends to be aggravated by sweat and friction.
- Erythrodermic Psoriasis: This happens to be the least common form of psoriasis. Erythrodermic psoriasis can cover the whole body with an intense red rash that peels, itches, and burns. There are number of things that could trigger this skin condition, including sunburn, another form of psoriasis that is not treated, and corticosteroids or other medications.
- Psoriatic Arthritis: This type of psoriasis will not only cause inflamed, scaly skin, but also pitted, discolored nails and joints that are swollen and painful (similar to the symptoms of arthritis). The symptoms of psoriatic arthritis can affect any joint in the body, and they range from moderate to quite severe. While not normally as crippling as other forms of arthritis, it can cause progressive joint damage that could eventually lead to a permanent deformity around the joint.
If you think that you might be experiencing psoriasis symptoms, then you should make an appointment with your health care provider. During your visit, please be sure to explain all of the symptoms that you have to your doctor. That’ll help them make an accurate diagnosis of your condition. Psoriasis can be treated, so please do not ignore any of the warning signs.