Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition believed to be caused by problems with the immune system. It causes new skin cells to develop and move through the skin layers at an abnormally fast rate. The body can’t keep up, so the dead skin cells build up and form thick, scaly patches.
The symptoms of this condition can vary widely depending on its severity, type and location. Common symptoms, however, include at least one of the following:
- Patches of red skin with silvery scales
- Pitted, ridged or abnormally thick nails
- Dry and cracked skin that might also bleed
- Itching, pain or a burning sensation
- Small, scaly spots, especially if the patient is a child
- Stiff and swollen joints
What is Plaque Psoriasis?
This is by far the most common type; about 80 percent of psoriasis patients develop it. With this type, the patient develops plaques or raised patches of inflamed, red skin covered with white or silvery scales. The plaques can itch and/or burn. They can appear anywhere on the body but are most commonly found on the scalp, lower back, knees and/or elbows.
What is Psoriatic Arthritis?
As the name suggests, psoriatic arthritis describes joint inflammation in somebody with psoriasis. In about 70 percent of the cases, the patient has had psoriasis for roughly ten years before developing arthritis. About 90 percent of patients also develop symptoms affecting their nails. The most common symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include the following:
- Fingers and toes that swell to the point they look like sausages
- Warm joints that may also be discolored
- Stiff and painful joints that feel worse after rest and/or in the morning
Don’t Forget About the Nails
About half of patients with this condition develop symptoms affecting their nails. Patients with psoriatic arthritis are especially likely to develop nail problems. Patients in this situation are more prone to fungal infections. Symptoms of the nail type of psoriasis can include the following:
- Painful and tender nails
- Pits developing in the nails
- Chalk-like material under the nails
- Discoloration of the nails
- Separation of the nail from its bed
At Dermatology Consultants of South Florida in Coral Springs and Sunrise, we offer personalized treatments for psoriasis, since each patient’s case is unique. After evaluating your condition, overall health and medical history, we can create a customized treatment plan for you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to have your psoriasis properly assessed, diagnosed and treated.