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Psoriasis - Overview
Psoriasis is a condition in which the abnormal activity of the immune system results in a variety of skin and other changes in the body. While there is no cure for psoriasis, psoriasis medications can help reduce symptoms in some people. People who need prescription medications for psoriasis can use Push Health to connect with a licensed medical provider who can prescribe psoriasis treatment when appropriate and safe to do so.
What Is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis belongs to a class of conditions known as autoimmune diseases. Characterized by an abnormal and often hyperactive response from the immune system, psoriasis is notable for the development of scaly, dry patches that are red, pink or purple in color. Psoriasis can affect single areas of the body or present with patches that cover the entire body. Psoriasis is thought to be a genetic condition that can be made worse by external triggers such as medication, weather or stress. The most common type of psoriasis is plaque psoriasis. Other forms of psoriasis include pustular psoriasis, guttate psoriasis, inverse psoriasis and erythrodermic psoriasis.
Plaque psoriasis is classically characterized by red, scaly patches with areas of silver or white on top, Also known as psoriasis vulgaris and chronic stationary psoriasis, plaque psoriasis makes up most of all psoriasis cases. Plaque psoriasis affects the elbows, forearms, knees and naval region. Like other forms of psoriasis, plaque psoriasis is not contagious as it is the result of abnormalities in the immune system as opposed to infection from a microorganism.
Psoriasis on the scalp can be caused by various types of psoriasis, including plaque psoriasis, seborrheic-like psoriasis and guttate psoriasis. Scalp psoriasis can be particularly disheartening as it is often characterized by flaky plaques and dry, peeling skin on the scalp, leading to flaking in the hair itself. Scalp psoriasis can be mistaken for dandruff and can lead to psychological conditions such as depression given the self-consciousness it can cause. While scalp psoriasis treatment needs to be individualized to each person, some cases of psoriasis on the scalp may respond to a combination of steroid and vitamin D therapy.
At this time, no permanent cure for psoriasis exists. However, a number of psoriasis medications and treatments (e.g. ultraviolet light) have been developed which help reduce symptoms related to psoriasis. Medications used in psoriasis treatment include steroid medications and medications which suppress the immune system:
- Triamcinolone (Kenalog)
Lifestyle modifications may also reduce psoriasis symptoms. Reducing stress levels, vitamin D intake, use of moisturizers and certain dietary changes may all help improve symptoms related to psoriasis.
Psoriasis versus Eczema
In thinking about psoriasis versus eczema, it can be difficult to understand the differences. While no finding is definitive in terms of differentiating the two, there are some patterns. Psoriasis patches are red, silvery, scaly and tend to be thick. Psoriasis patches often have no symptoms or may feel like they are burning but are not usually extremely itchy. Eczema patches are more often rough and scaly, exacerbated by the scratching caused by intense itchiness, and are generally found in creases and areas of the body where the skin is bent such as behind the knees or in the elbows. Eczema usually starts in early childhood while psoriasis tends to start after teenage years. Ultimately, diagnosing psoriasis versus other conditions requires consideration of all of the symptoms present and analyzing different characteristics of the patient.
Psoriasis Treatment Online
Most effective treatments for psoriasis require a prescription medication or other more invasive treatments. However, in the United States, one cannot just buy psoriasis medications online as most of these forms of psoriasis treatment require a prescription from a medical provider. Push Health can connect people who need prescription psoriasis medications with a medical provider who can prescribe psoriasis medications when appropriate to do so.
More Psoriasis Information
Last updated December 7, 2019. Given the evolving nature of medicine and science, this information might not be accurate and should not be construed as medical advice or diagnosis / treatment recommendations. Please consult a licensed medical provider if you have additional questions.