Risk Factors and Triggers
Some people have a genetic predisposition where the genes responsible for the immune system are different and send confusing signals that promote inflammation instead of healing. In addition, the following may trigger psoriasis:
- Natural sunlight can worsen the condition for some people
- Dry weather conditions can worsen psoriasis symptoms
- Some medications can make it worse, such as lithium, beta-blockers, and indomethacin
- Hormonal changes during menopause or pregnancy
- Alcohol and smoking
- Skin injuries
How is Psoriasis Diagnosed
A board-certified dermatologist specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions affecting the skin, nails, and hair. Dr. Margo Weishar can diagnose psoriasis by examining your skin, nails, and hair. She may also remove a bit of skin to examine under a microscope. A detailed medical history and questions related to your symptoms will also be asked during the consultation.
- Guttate – appears on the arms, legs, and abdominal area and presents as inflamed red spots.
- Pustular – often appears on the hands and feet and looks like painful pus-filled bumps.
- Plaque – presents as red or silver-white scales on the body, and often appears on the scalp, knees, and elbows.
- Inverse – this type is found in the skin folds, armpits, groin, and breast area. It is smooth and shiny in appearance.
- Erythrodermic – while rare, this type of psoriasis can be life-threatening. It causes severe itching, changes in heart rate and temperature, and large areas of skin are shed.
Each patient is unique, thus your psoriasis treatment plan will be unique to you based on the type, area affected, severity, and impact on your quality of life. This chronic skin condition may be treated in a number of different ways, including:
- Phototherapy helps slow the growth of skin cells, reduce inflammation and give the skin time to heal.
- Topical medication to apply to the affected area, such as corticosteroids.
- Oral medications such as methotrexate and retinoids.
- Injectable medications such as biologics.