Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease with five identified types, but plaque psoriasis is the most pervasive form, afflicting approximately 7 million Americans. People with plaque psoriasis develop red, raised, and flaky patches or plaques on their skin, which can cause irritation and itching.
Plaque psoriasis patches can resemble eczema and dermatitis, but psoriasis plaques are more painful and itchy than either condition.
In essence, plaque psoriasis develops due to accelerated cell growth and reproduction, which consequently exhibits itself as build-ups of scaly dead skin cells. Without proper care and treatment, these plaques may become inflamed, resulting in pain and itching.
Plaque Psoriasis Severity
Without a medical consultation, it is nearly impossible to determine the severity of your plaque psoriasis. To give you an idea, however, when psoriasis affects 3% or less of the skin, it is classified as mild. In moderate cases, the patches are present on nearly 10% of the skin. Lastly, when plaque psoriasis results in patches on over 10% of the skin’s surface, it is considered a severe case.
Additionally, medical professionals also take into account the overall impact that symptoms have on a patient’s daily life before putting together a treatment plan.
Understanding the Psoriasis “Plaques”
Plaque psoriasis can occur on any area of the skin. Nonetheless, this type of psoriasis is most typically target the scalp, elbows, and knees. Except for the parts of the body where the skin folds, e.g. armpits, plaque psoriasis patches can form on any area of the body.
It may also target different parts of the skin with every recurring flare-up, with lesions that may even differ in shape and size. Not every flare-up will also have the same level of severity.
Studies show that over 50% of people with plaque psoriasis report patches on the scalp, which can be improved by the use of tar shampoos and topical treatments that promote the shedding of dead skin cells.
Plaque psoriasis can become considerably severe, painful, and widespread. Getting a handle on your condition and managing your symptoms with the right treatment is essential to avoid complications such as erythrodermic psoriasis.
If you think you may be exhibiting plaque psoriasis symptoms that may also be eczema or dermatitis, see a doctor as soon as you can instead of settling for diagnosing yourself and trying treatments that might be counterproductive. Be as clear and accurate about your symptoms and how they impact your life as possible when you consult a medical professional.
Tips to Cope with Plaque Psoriasis Daily
Managing the psoriasis itch: discuss your medicinal moisturizer and ointment options with your primary physician. The first one might not work; the second one might not be that effective, but you will eventually find the right daily treatment to relieve the itching with the help of your doctor.
In addition to standard medications, it is also important to use a doctor-recommended shampoo if you plaque psoriasis particularly affects the scalp.
Ensure that you have a strong support system – both emotional and professional. You may seek the help of a professional such as a naturopathic doctor to improve your quality of life even more.
There are also millions of people who go through what you go through on a daily basis, so attending a local support group, which you can search for on the website of National Psoriasis Foundation, can also provide you with so much valuable information and opportunities to connect with those who understand you.
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