What is Psoriasis?
A chronic skin condition that features thick patches of skin, inflammation, itching and scaling is known as psoriasis and is caused by a patient’s overactive immune system. With this condition, skin cells are rapidly produced and instead of shedding, they pile up on the skin, resulting in skin patches, or plaques. San Antonio dermatologist, Dr. Garcia, can treat these red, white or silvery patches of scaly skin, which are usually found on the scalp, elbows and knees. Since there are various forms of psoriasis, Dr. Garcia will diagnose the form a patient has to provide appropriate treatment.
"Great doctor. Short wait time. Great staff. Good results (I hope). "- B. / Demandforce / Mar 12, 2016
"Hands down one of the best physician offices I have had the pleasure of being a client to. I struggle with cyst-like issues and “HS”. They take care of me and make sure I’m comfortable, they are very knowledgeable of my condition and I believe that if you struggle with the same thing, do not be afraid to walk in here. Me and now my mother go here. Oh, and did I mention I only waited 5 minutes in the waiting room/patient room? Go here and don’t go anywhere else. 1000/10!"- S.C. / Google / Sep 18, 2020
"Amazing group of doctors, and staff is so friendly and caring!!!! I got seen as a new patient 2 days after my initial call. Many precautions are practiced to prevent COVID-19; i felt very safe in the office."- R.R. / Yelp / Sep 11, 2020
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"Fantastic office! Great staff and Drs! Highly recommend this practice ! Happy"- N.S. / Facebook / Aug 26, 2020
What Causes Psoriasis?
The exact cause of psoriasis hasn’t been pinpointed by doctors. The overall thinking is that the immune system overreacts which causes inflammation as well as flaking of the skin. It’s also believed that psoriasis can be inherited. Approximately 1/3 of people who have psoriasis have one or more family members with the condition. Scientists believe that certain genes interact which leads to psoriasis. However, a patient must inherit the right combination of genes as well as be exposed to a trigger. Symptoms can appear after triggers such as a stressful event, taking certain medications, strep throat, cold, dry weather or a scratch, cut or bad sunburn.
Types of Psoriasis
There are several different forms of psoriasis, including plaque psoriasis or psoriasis vulgaris, pustular psoriasis, guttate psoriasis, inverse psoriasis and erythrodermic psoriasis or exfoliative psoriasis. Plaque psoriasis is the most common. While most cases of psoriasis are considered mild, some are difficult to treat and can require multiple treatments throughout a patient’s life. It is also important to note that psoriasis isn’t contagious and can’t be spread from person to person. Once it is diagnosed, it is a matter of managing the symptoms so that flare-ups can be minimized.
Symptoms of Psoriasis
The most common symptoms associated with psoriasis include raised, bright red patches of skin that are covered with loose and silvery scales. Plaques can also appear in the same area on both sides of the body, such as on both knees and/or both elbows. The scalp can experience anything from mild scaling to areas of thick, crusted plaques. Itching is common before flare-ups especially when psoriatic patches appear in body folds such as under the buttocks or breasts. Tiny areas of skin bleeding can occur when scales are picked or scraped off. This is known as Auspitz’s sign. In addition, nails can appear pitted or discolored or even crumble and fall off. Some common symptoms associated with the varying types of psoriasis include:
- Guttate psoriasis: Common symptoms include small, red spots that can appear all over the skin and often appear after an illness.
- Pustular psoriasis: Common symptoms include red, swollen skin with pus-filled bumps that can cover the palms and soles and can be painful.
- Inverse psoriasis: Common symptoms include smooth, red patches of skin that appear raw-looking. Patches develop only where skin comes into contact with other skin such as the armpits or genitals.
- Erythrodermic psoriasis: Common symptoms include areas of skin that look burned and most, if not all, of the body turns bright red and the body can’t maintain a normal temperature. A person must seek medical care immediately since this condition can be life threatening.
Treatment for Psoriasis
While there is no cure for psoriasis, there are a variety of treatments available to treat the condition depending on the severity and type of psoriasis a patient has. Mild cases can be treated with prescription lotions, creams and ointments that help to moisturize the skin. When the scalp is affected, shampoos, sprays and oils can be used. Oral medications can also be prescribed, and cortisone shots can be administered to slow down the growth of cells and reduce inflammation. Advancements in laser therapy have made huge improvements for many patients. Using phototherapy to expose a patient’s skin to special, ultraviolet light helps reduce symptoms, as well as helps the skin to look normal.
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Control Your Psoriasis Today!
Since psoriasis is not only painful, but can also be embarrassing, making it difficult for some patients to live their day-to-day lives, it is crucial for a patient to see a dermatologist to understand how to manage the condition. We invite you to call our dermatology office today and make an appointment for your thorough consultation.