December 19, 2014
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Psoriasis

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Psoriasis symptoms

There are different types of psoriasis. Psoriasis is characterized by lesions on the skin. Often, the lesions appear symmetrically (the same place on both sides of the body). The lesions can be painful and itchy. Depending on the type of psoriasis, the lesions can have a different appearance and vary in size:

  • Plaque psoriasis lesions are usually well-defined, red, raised plaques covered with silvery, shiny scales. The lesions may appear anywhere but are usually found on the knees, elbows, scalp (scalp psoriasis), and torso. They can also be found on skin folds, nails (nail psoriasis), face, palms, and soles of the feet. Nail psoriasis symptoms include thickened, discoloured, pitted, and splintered nails.
  • Guttate psoriasis lesions are red, small (about 0.5 cm to 1.5 cm in diameter), and drop-shaped. They typically appear on the trunk, face, or limbs.
  • Pustular psoriasis lesions are red and pus-filled, with scales that gradually form as the pustular lesions dry up. Pustular psoriasis often appears on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, but it can also appear widespread over the body (called generalized pustular psoriasis).
  • Erythrodermic psoriasis lesions look like a sunburn and are red, inflammatory patches that often cover 90% or more of the skin.
  • Inverse psoriasis lesions are smooth and red and tend to occur in skin folds where there tends to be friction, moisture, or pressure (e.g., armpits, under breasts, buttocks, genitals).

Psoriasis symptoms can be severe. Plaque psoriasis is considered severe when 10% or more of the body is affected.

If you have been diagnosed with psoriasis, your doctor may use a questionnaire called the DLQI (Dermatology Life Quality Index) to assess how well you are responding to the current treatment plan and to find the most satisfactory option for your condition.

About 30% of patients with psoriasis may also suffer from a type of arthritis (joint inflammation, pain, and stiffness) called psoriatic arthritis.

Although psoriasis is a chronic (life-long) condition, symptoms can flare up and then disappear for periods of time. Symptoms range from mild to severe.

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