Plaque psoriasis of the body

Overview of Plaque Psoriasis of the Body

Psoriasis is a common chronic skin condition affecting about 3 percent of the population in the United States. Plaque psoriasis is the most common type, which causes raised, red or pink patches on the skin with silvery scales. Among the areas commonly affected are the elbows, knees, trunk, scalp, and even the face, hands, or feet.

Plaque psoriasis appears as patches that are often described as looking like raised red islands surrounded by a sea of pink with silvery scales. These patches may itch and burn. People with Scalp psoriasis may find their hair has become brittle, that they have plaques and flakes on their scalp, and commenting on the heavy dandruff.

Symptoms of Plaque Psoriasis

Plaque psoriasis can be mild or severe and have different effects depending on who the sufferer is. Common symptoms include:

  • Thick, silvery patches on the skin
  • Itching, burning, or soreness
  • Red patches of skin covered with thick, silvery scales
  • Small scaling spots
  • Dry, cracked skin that may bleed

The medical term for psoriasis is psoriatic dermatitis. Areas may crack and bleed due to the dry skin and itching. Red dots may appear on the arm and legs. Sometimes plaques can develop with infection.

Complications of Plaque Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic condition and if not taken care of it can cause health complications. Some may experience joint pain due to psoriatic arthritis, which is linked to psoriasis. Other potential complications are:

  • Depression
  • Eye irritation or vision problems
  • Hearing loss
  • Skin irritation or infection
  • Inverse psoriasis (internal areas, such as within the armpits or around the genitals)

Having psoriasis also increases the risk for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Prompt treatment of any of the above complications is important to avoid further health issues.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Plaque Psoriasis

If you have symptoms of plaque psoriasis, it is important to seek medical attention. Your doctor may recommend one or more tests or procedures to diagnose it. These may include a skin exam, taking skin samples for biopsy, or blood tests. Your doctor will likely prescribe medications or treatments to reduce the symptoms and control the psoriasis.

Common treatments include corticosteroids, phototherapy (light therapy), and topical treatments. Medications may be taken orally, applied directly to the skin, or injected. Some possible therapies to consider are cyclosporine, methotrexate, retinoids, and biological agents such as Humira or Enbrel. Another option is to use home remedies to manage the symptoms.

Following your doctor's treatment plan is important to control any symptoms and prevent any further complications. It is not advisable to try and self-treat plaque psoriasis due to the potential risk of worsening the condition.