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Psoriasis: causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

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Mª Dolores Iñiguez Navarro
Dermatology consultations
25 May 2023
2 Min
Health tips
  • Psoriasis goes far beyond an aesthetic problem. It is a chronic inflammatory pathology of the skin that causes red, dry and scaly patches located mainly in visible places on the skin, which can cause pain, burning and itching.

 

These patches are often dry, itchy, and may cause discomfort or pain. Our Dr. Mª Dolores Iñiguez, CreuBlanca dermatologist, explains what psoriasis is, why it appears and how its diagnosis and treatment has evolved.

Causes of psoriasis

The exact cause of psoriasis is not yet fully understood, but it is believed to result from a combination of genetic, immunological, and environmental factors. The disease occurs when the body’s immune system speeds up the growth cycle of skin cells. In healthy skin, it takes about a month for skin cells to grow and replace themselves. In the case of people with psoriasis, this process is accelerated and the skin cells are renewed in a matter of days instead of weeks. This causes an accumulation of dead cells on the surface of the skin, forming the characteristic scales.

In addition to genetic factors, certain triggers have been found to trigger or worsen psoriasis flare-ups. These factors can include emotional stress, skin lesions, infections, cold and dry weather, alcohol use, smoking, and some medications.

Diagnosis of psoriasis

The diagnosis of psoriasis is based on a clinical evaluation by a physician, usually a dermatologist. During the evaluation, the doctor will examine the skin and look for the characteristic signs of psoriasis, such as red, scaly patches.

In addition to the physical examination, the doctor may also perform the following actions to confirm the diagnosis:

  • Medical history: The doctor will collect information about the symptoms present, their duration and possible triggering factors. Family history of psoriasis or other related diseases will also be explored.
  • Skin biopsy: In some cases, the doctor may perform a biopsy of the affected skin. A small sample of skin is removed and examined under a microscope to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other skin conditions.

 

In general, the diagnosis of psoriasis is based primarily on the characteristic appearance and distribution of the skin lesions. There is no specific test to diagnose psoriasis, but in more atypical or complicated cases, your doctor may order additional tests to rule out other skin conditions with similar symptoms.

Treatment for psoriasis

It is important to note that psoriasis is not contagious and cannot be passed from one person to another. Although there is currently no cure for psoriasis, there are treatments that can help control symptoms and reduce the frequency and severity of flare-ups. If you think you may have psoriasis, it is recommended that you see a dermatologist for an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment plan.

Although there is no definitive cure, a timely diagnosis, personalized treatment and adequate follow-up by a dermatologist allows avoiding serious complications and improving the quality of life of those who suffer from it. At the CreuBlanca Dermatology Unit we carry out multiple tests for the diagnosis and specific treatment of multiple skin pathologies, such as psoriasis.