Plaque Psoriasis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments
Plaque psoriasis is a type of psoriasis which causes itching and redness. It can possibly be a sign of another underlying disease.
In this article, we’ll explain what it is as well as the causes, symptoms, and plaque psoriasis treatment options that are available to you.
What Is Plaque Psoriasis?
Plaque psoriasis is the most common type of psoriasis experienced by patients. It’s known primarily by the red skin lesions and the silvery scales that cover them.
Plaque psoriasis, and psoriasis in general, is a common skin condition. What it does is it causes the life cycle of your skin cells to speed up, meaning that your body produces skin cells at a faster rate than it can shed them, causing a build-up of cells. Plaque psoriasis is a chronic disease and the lesions can often be painful or itchy. It’s possible that a patient will have multiple, red lesions or only a couple of them. They in size as well. These plaques can appear anywhere on the body. These lesions come and go for a variety of reasons.
Causes Of Plaque Psoriasis
The exact cause of plaque psoriasis is unknown but there are some theories about its causes.
The most common theory involves T cells, which are a type of white blood cells. The theory is that plaque psoriasis is an autoimmune disease where a patient's T cells, along with other kinds of white blood cells known as neutrophils, attack healthy skin cells by accident. It’s possible that, for one reason or another, the patient’s T cells think they are attacking bacteria in a wound.
When the T cells attack healthy skin cells, that triggers increased skin production because the body is trying to produce skin cells to help close a nonexistent wound. When this faster skin cell production is triggered, it eventually leads to the red plaques and silver scales most commonly identified as plaque psoriasis.
The hardest part to understand for doctors and dermatologists is why the T cells are malfunctioning at all. Experts think there are a variety of factors that can trigger a recurrence of plaque psoriasis.
Triggers for plaque psoriasis include:
- Strep infections
- Skin infections
- Alcohol consumption
- Vitamin D deficiencies
- Negative reactions to certain medications
A patient might be more at risk if they have any of the following risk factors:
Stress - Stress can cause changes to your immune system. If you have plaque psoriasis that means stress can become one of your triggers. The more stress you experience the more likely you will develop plaque psoriasis, likewise the more stress you can get rid of the less likely you’ll see a reaction.
Obesity - Plaque psoriasis likes to develop in the creases of the skin. With obesity comes more skin creases making it easier for the condition to develop.
Infections - Since plaque psoriasis is an issue with your T cells, it only makes sense that bacterial and viral infections can both lead to outbreaks of plaque psoriasis. Not only is your body triggered by healthy skin tissue but it may overreact to real problems as they’re encountered.
Smoking - Some experts think that smoking plays a role in the original development of psoriasis. Although we’re not sure whether or not that’s the case, we are sure that smokers see a higher rate of recurrence than nonsmokers. If you’ve developed plaque psoriasis, maybe it’s time to quit smoking.
Family history - Family history is one of the most common risk factors for plaque psoriasis. If any of your family members have plaque psoriasis, chances are good you could develop it as well. The chances that you have plaque psoriasis increase dramatically if both of your parents have the condition as well.
Symptoms Of Plaque Psoriasis
The symptoms of plaque psoriasis can be mild or they can be severe. It just depends on the person and the particular breakout.
Symptoms of plaque psoriasis include:
- Red patches of skin
- Silver scales
- Raised skin
- Bumps that join together
If your plaque psoriasis is causing you discomfort or pain to the point where it’s making it difficult to do, even if that thing is very small, contact a licensed medical doctor or your dermatologist. You can contact your doctor if you’re concerned about the appearance of your skin as well. If your plaque psoriasis causes you joint problems, please contact a medical professional.
These are the more serious symptoms of plaque psoriasis and they deserve serious medical attention.
Additionally plaque psoriasis makes you more likely to develop other conditions or diseases as well. If you have plaque psoriasis and start noticing other symptoms, it may be worth mentioning to your doctor.
Plaque psoriasis puts you at great risk for developing:
- Eye disorders
- Type 2 diabetes
- Cardiovascular disease
- Various Autoimmune diseases
- Kidney disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Metabolic syndrome
- High blood pressure
- Psoriatic arthritis
Plaque Psoriasis Treatment Options
Plaque psoriasis is an incurable disease. It’s also a chronic condition meaning it comes and goes. Sometimes you’ll go long periods of time with no symptoms only to experience a random flare up at random sometime in the future.
Although there’s no cure for plaque psoriasis, there are several steps you can take to take care of your body, prevent future flare-ups, and help calm the flares when they develop in spite of your best efforts.
Plaque psoriasis treatment options include:
- Topical corticosteroids
- Vitamin D analogues
- Certain drugs that slow down skin growth
- Salicylic acid
- Coal tar
- Moisturizers and ointments
Before you try most of these different treatment options, it’s probably best to speak with your doctor. Your doctor can officially diagnose your plaque psoriasis and make sure that it’s not a sign of some other underlying disease that deserves more immediate attention.
The only plaque psoriasis treatment option that’s considered safe to use before talking with your doctor is a lotion or ointment.