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When the weather turns colder and allergies kick in, many people experience dry, itchy skin. But when is it best to be concerned?

Psoriasis is a skin condition characterized by thick, scaly, elevated plaques. Initially, these may be confused for eczema or dermatitis, although psoriasis has more tell-tale signs and symptoms than many people know. Dr. Adil Moulanchikkal, lead specialist from EliteAyurveda, Bangalore, India, tells us what to check for if you fear you have psoriasis:

1. The body parts that are concerned

“The elbows, knees, scalp, and lower back are common locations, but you can find psoriasis anywhere,” said Dr. Adil.

Psoriasis has several subtypes that affect different parts of the body. According to Dr. Adil, the most frequent kind is plaque psoriasis. Psoriasis in skin folds such as the groin, armpits, and under the breasts is referred to as inverse psoriasis.

Furthermore, a severe form of psoriasis can affect the entire body, causing chills, fever, and dehydration.

“The most severe type of psoriasis is erythrodermic psoriasis, where more than 80% of the body is involved and can require hospitalization,” said Dr. Adil.

2. The lesions’ form and distribution

Plaques with psoriasis can be round or oval in shape and size. It affects the body’s outside portions, such as the elbows and knees, whereas eczema commonly affects the inner arms, behind the knees, and neck folds.

“Traditionally, psoriasis on the skin is well-defined, with very clear borders indicating where the rash begins and ends.” “It’s ill-defined and not as clear with eczema,” adds Dr. Adil.

3. Rashes with scales and flaking

“The onset of a scaly, sometimes itchy rash would be the first sign.” “It’s pink with a thick white scale on top,” Dr. Adil says. “Some patients have psoriasis only on the scalp, which can lead to itching and flaking.”

The flakes of psoriasis might mimic dandruff. The scaling effect is caused by layers peeling off. Picking or peeling psoriasis scales should be avoided because it might cause flare-ups.

4. Pitting of the nails

Yes, psoriasis can affect the nails, and nail psoriasis can exist in the absence of skin psoriasis. Although many people with nail psoriasis do not have joint dysfunction, it might be a symptom of psoriatic arthritis.

“With nail psoriasis, there are some common nail changes such as pits in the nails, which look like tiny dents,” said Dr. Adil.

Nails can also become yellow, become brittle, rough, and separate from the skin.

5. Reactions

“A certain type of psoriasis called guttate psoriasis, characterized by smaller coin-shaped spots on the body, can be triggered by an infection such as strep throat,” according to Dr. Adil. “Certain medications like beta-blockers can be associated with a psoriasis flare-up.”

According to Dr. Adil, there is also a correlation between psoriasis and stress. Stress can aggravate psoriasis, and psoriasis flare-ups can exacerbate stress.

6. Joint discomfort

“Psoriatic arthritis refers to an autoimmune arthritis that some with psoriasis on the skin may have,” according to Dr. Adil. It is estimated that psoriatic arthritis affects 5% to 30% of psoriasis sufferers.

Psoriatic arthritis, like psoriasis, may have a genetic propensity and can flare up and go away. It can cause lower back pain, stiffness in the morning, swollen fingers, and weariness.

It is crucial to detect and treat psoriasis as soon as feasible. Psoriasis has no cure, however symptoms can be managed and controlled.

“Some people, even if they live a perfectly healthy lifestyle, will still get psoriasis,” Dr. Adil said. “The number of treatments has increased dramatically – they range from topical treatments like creams, ointments, and shampoos to oral, injectable and infused medications.”


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