The condition known as psoriasis cannot be cured for good, but it can be treated to help manage symptoms and reduce the effects it can have on your life.
Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease. While there are treatments that can help manage symptoms and reduce your risk of complications, once you develop psoriasis, it will never go away completely.
This article will explain what psoriasis is, how it can impact your overall length and quality of life, and what treatments are available.
Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease that is most known for its effects on the skin, but it also causes inflammation throughout the body and other problems.
There are several different types of psoriasis. They’re generally grouped by the color and location of the lesions that can appear and also the other symptoms you have.
The most common symptoms include:
- lesions that range in color from purple to red to silver
- scaly skin
- itching or irritation
- joint pain or inflammation
Types of psoriasis
Psoriasis types are differentiated by the color, location, and type of lesions that appear, as well as other symptoms that go beyond the skin.
- Plaque psoriasis: Also called psoriasis vulgaris, this is the most common form of psoriasis. It appears with thick red to purple patches of skin that are covered in white to gray scales. The elbows, knees, back, and scalp are common targets for this type of psoriasis.
- Guttate psoriasis: This type features red to violet or even brown spots on the skin that have a drop shape to them. These lesions usually appear on the torso and limbs but can also be found on the face and scalp.
- Flexural or inverse psoriasis: This form of the condition usually lacks the scaly dryness of other types because of its location. Inverse psoriasis is commonly found in skin folds, like under the breasts or in the armpits. The lesions appear red to purple, and shiny or smooth since sweat and moisture in the skin folds help to prevent skin scaling and shedding
- Pustular psoriasis: The pustular type can develop quickly with white pustules surrounded by dark or red skin. This variety of psoriasis may cover limited or isolated parts of your body, but it can also cover your entire body and can appear anywhere.
- Erythrodermic psoriasis: Also called exfoliative psoriasis, this is a rare type that appears first as red to purple patches covered in silvery scales, but progresses to severe skin shedding that must be treated as a medical emergency.
- Psoriatic arthritis (PsA): PsA is any type of psoriasis that involves joint pain and inflammation. About one-third of people with any form of psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis, which can’t be seen but may become very painful and even limit your physical abilities.
- Nail psoriasis and scalp psoriasis: Nail and scalp psoriasis may sometimes be listed as separate conditions, but many types of psoriasis can appear in these areas.
Psoriasis is a lifelong condition that cannot be cured completely.
Many treatments exist for the different types of psoriasis, though you may need to try a few to see what gives you the best results. You may even be able to achieve remission or get the condition under control with treatment, but it will never be completely cured.
Some common treatments for psoriasis may include:
- light therapy
- topical or oral corticosteroids
- coal tar
- vitamin D analogs
Psoriasis on its own isn’t really seen as a condition that can impact your overall life expectancy.
Other studies have linked to psoriasis to an increased risk of other health issues in both men and women with the condition. A
System-wide inflammation and the damage it can have on cells throughout the body is the most common explanation, but your specific mortality risk will depend on the specific type and severity of your psoriasis, your overall health, and what other health conditions you might have.
Psoriasis can appear with other autoimmune diseases like:
- rheumatoid arthritis
- celiac disease
- Crohn’s disease and other bowel diseases
- multiple sclerosis
- lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus)
- autoimmune thyroid disease
- Sjögren’s syndrome
- autoimmune hair loss (alopecia areata)
- bullous pemphigoid
People with psoriasis also are at increased risk of a number of other conditions called comorbidities. The most common include:
- metabolic syndrome
- type 2 diabetes
- cardiovascular diseases
- high cholesterol
- nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
- inflammatory conditions
- vascular diseases
mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety
There are many topical treatments that focus on improving the symptoms of psoriasis, but large-scale improvement and control usually require the use of systemic medications like methotrexate, steroids, or biologics.
Outside of these treatments, there is little that can be done to prevent psoriasis or keep it from spreading. Some forms of psoriasis are triggered or made worse by things like stress, certain foods, or even viruses.
Some lifestyle changes that can help you control your psoriasis and reduce systemic inflammation include:
Psoriasis is a lifelong condition that cannot be cured.
Medications and lifestyle changes may help you achieve remission or a reduction in symptoms, and there are lifestyle changes you can make to reduce the effects of inflammation on your body.
However, treatment must continue for you to see results, and your psoriasis could return or flare up if you stop treatment or your condition is triggered.