HEALTH

Psoriasis: what it is, symptoms and how to treat it

Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin disease that is usually chronic, relapsing and non-transmissible, causing pain, discomfort and sometimes even embarrassment for much of life.

The onset of psoriasis is caused by a continuous state of activation of the immune system, which is why it is called an immune-mediated disease. 

It is a multifactorial disease (i.e. with several causes), and is characterised by increased epidermal cell proliferation and manifests itself mostly in the form of erythematous-squamous plaques, localised in various parts of the body.

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What it is, how to treat it, and what causes psoriasis
Psoriasis manifests itself as an increase in the proliferation of skin cells, and thus causes the formation of erythematous-squamous plaques (thickened, often reddened, and flaky skin) found mainly on certain parts of the body such as the knees, elbows, scalp, lumbosacral area, and on the palms of the hands and feet. There are no known distinctions of age or geographical area.
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Some characteristics of psoriasis
The manifestation of psoriasis is due to a state of perennial and continuous activation of the immune system (it is in fact called an immune-mediated disease). It is chronic and not transmissible from person to person. Moreover, it has a relapsing course, i.e. it alternates between periods of exacerbation and others of remission that can be almost complete.
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There are five different types of psoriasis
They can be identified by their different clinics and the type of lesions. Plaque psoriasis: red demarcated plaques covered with silvery-white scales; pustular psoriasis: pustules in different areas of the body, which then usually become scabs; guttate psoriasis: small, scaling red papules; erythrodermic psoriasis: huge red-purple inflamed patches; inverse psoriasis: smooth areas of reddened and inflamed skin.
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Diagnosis
To correctly diagnose psoriasis, since it can have different manifestations, a clinical investigation is required, based on the observation of the general practitioner or specialist in the skin manifestation of the disease (a dermatologist). The disease can occur with clinical pictures of varying severity, from a small number of skin lesions to the involvement of larger body areas.
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The causes
At the moment, no single cause has been found: psoriasis is referred to as a multifactorial disease (i.e. factors that may be genetic, environmental or even, and above all, immunological). In fact, the role of the immune system as a cause of psoriasis is one of the key topics of research against this disease (at the moment, however, no significant progress has yet been made). Psoriasis could also be caused by external and internal factors such as skin trauma (scratches, abrasions, burns), infections, stress, smoking, obesity and certain medications.
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Possible therapies
There is still no definitive cure for psoriasis. Topical cortisone-based creams, often replaced by innovative vitamin C-based creams, systemic oral therapies and ultraviolet therapies are currently the most common, although the way to treat this problem varies depending on its intensity and degree of severity. Obviously, like all chronic diseases, psoriasis requires constant and continuous monitoring.
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