How Do I Know If I Have Psoriasis?

There are several TV ads claiming relief from psoriasis including those with celebrities. Do you think you could have psoriasis with your dry skin? Do you have thick itchy patches of skin?  Yes, these can be symptoms of psoriasis, but how do you know if you have psoriasis?

Woman scratching her arm from psoriasis.

What Is Psoriasis?

In order to know if you have this condition, you need a definition. Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that usually develops on the knees, scalp, elbows, and trunk, and unfortunately, there is no cure. The condition seems to be cyclical, and it will flare up for a bit and then quiet down.

Psoriasis is not contagious, but it can run in families. This condition is understood to be an immune system problem where healthy skin cells are attacked by mistake. Environment plays a part.

The best thing one with psoriasis can do is to find an expert like WMC Dermatology in Pittsburgh, PA who can help you find your triggers and help you avoid or reduce flares.

Common Symptoms of Psoriasis

There are five common symptoms of psoriasis:

  1. One common symptom is a rash or patch of red inflamed skin often with silver colored scales on top. In severe cases, the plaques will grow and merge together covering large areas.
  2. An area of itchy painful skin that cracks or bleeds
  3. A small area of bleeding if scratched
  4. Fingers and toes can have discoloration and pitting with crumbling nails that can detach from the nailbed.
  5. Scaly plaque on the scalp

Psoriasis can also be linked to psoriatic arthritis causing itchy swollen joints. 10 to 30% of adults with psoriasis have this condition.

What Can Cause Your Psoriasis?

Everyone with psoriasis has different triggers. It is essential that you find out what is causing your flares. You can then take action to better control your symptoms.

Dry, Cold Climate

Dry and cold weather conditions cause psoriasis to flare in many people. Living in a warm sunny climate with high humidity will reduce symptoms.

Certain Medications

Certain meds like beta-blockers for blood pressure and heart disease can lead to flares. Meds for malaria and lithium for bipolar issues can create similar flares. Talk with your doctor, in conjunction with WMC Dermatology, about switching your meds.

Stress

Stress can trigger psoriasis flares. Take action to reduce your stress, including regular exercise, connecting with loved ones, journaling, yoga, and getting enough sleep.

Injury to the Skin

For some people, even the smallest bruise or cut can cause psoriasis to appear. This includes bug bites, a tattoo, or a burn.

Excess Alcohol and Smoking

Both of these can trigger flares.

Infections

Infections, such as strep throat, tonsillitis, and HIV can trigger a psoriasis flare.

Do you notice breakouts and flares due to these possible triggers?

If you suspect you may have psoriasis, contact WMC Dermatology for an evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment.

Category: Dermatology
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