Psoriasis, which is a chronic inflammatory disease of the skin, is the subject of many received ideas… Like this idea that psoriasis is contagious, and could be caught by coming into contact with a person who has patches on the skin. We disentangle the true from the false.
Is psoriasis contagious?
A survey published by OpinionWay, revealed that 1 out of 3 French people would avoid kissing a person with psoriasis, for fear of catching it… However, psoriasis is not a contagious disease, and it cannot be transmitted by physical contact. It is an inflammatory disease of the skin, whose attacks can be triggered by different factors ( stress , fatigue , family history, etc.). There is therefore no risk of “catching” psoriasis if you come into contact with a person who suffers from it, or even of spreading the plaques on their own body…
Psoriasis outbreak, it’s not in the head…
Another received idea often comes back to psoriasis, which would be a psychosomatic, psychological disease. It is actually an autoimmune disease, called “epi-genic”: this immuno-inflammatory reaction can involve both a genetic predisposition and environmental factors. External factors can influence psoriasis, as with all autoimmune diseases: cold, certain beta-blocking drugs, stress, overweight , etc.
Psoriasis crisis: risk factors
While psoriasis is an inflammatory skin disease that can be inherited and involve certain genes, other factors can trigger attacks, increase or worsen symptoms.
Among the factors favoring the onset of psoriasis that we know today, we find:
- The stress,
- certain drug treatments,
- excessive consumption of alcohol,
- smoking, _
- great fatigue,
- emotional shock,
- an infection that would weaken the immune system (such as angina, HIV, respiratory infections, etc.),
- skin irritations or infections.
Studies have recently shown that psoriasis, in its extensive form, can increase the risk of developing other pathologies. Researchers have notably discovered that this chronic inflammatory disease could be associated with cardiovascular risk factors , such as obesity and diabetes .
Hence the importance of a “global” management of the patient, in whom, cardiac monitoring for example, is essential.
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Psoriasis: the symptoms of this skin disease
There are several forms of psoriasis: the symptoms and their intensity differ from one person to another.
- Inflammatory plaques (red and thick, often round or oval), which can form on the face, scalp, knees, back, elbows, but also the nails, the soles of the feet, the palms hands…
- Whitish crusts, scales that can form like large dandruff and come off.
- Itching. _
- Burning sensations in the plaques.
- In some cases, white pustules may appear.
What are the different types of psoriasis?
Psoriasis can manifest itself in different forms. The most common (80% of cases) is psoriasis vulgaris or plaque psoriasis. The other variants are:
Children and young adults are most affected by this form of psoriasis. Guttate psoriasis is characterized by small lesions about 1 cm in diameter on the trunk and the root of the arms as well as the thighs. If not treated quickly, psoriasis can develop into a chronic plaque form.
It is an exceptional form of psoriasis. The majority of the cutaneous surface desquamates continuously and abundantly. It becomes red and painful. In addition, this form of psoriasis is often accompanied by itching and swelling. People with this life-threatening condition (especially seniors) should be hospitalized.
Different parts of the body can be affected by psoriasis, including:
- The palmoplantar area
- Armpits, groin
- The nails (nail psoriasis)
What is scalp psoriasis?
Scalp psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the scalp, with symptoms resembling those of seborrheic dermatitis . It can be the cause of the formation of cicatricial alopecia plaques.
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How to treat psoriasis?
Current treatments do not cure the disease, but relieve symptoms and calm flare-ups. The attending physician will use the type, location and extent of the psoriasis as well as the patient’s age and general state of health to provide effective and appropriate treatment. He can prescribe:
- Local treatments: ointment, gel, cream, lotions, oil bath, moisturizers, salicylic acid, etc.
- Systematic treatments: methotrexate, retinoid, cyclosporine, etc.
- UVB phototherapy sessions or even biotherapies can also be offered to treat psoriasis.
- It is essential to consult a doctor as soon as possible as soon as the first signs of psoriasis are observed. Although it is an autoimmune disease and not contagious, it is unsightly, uncomfortable and sometimes even painful.