In a recent post I discussed autoimmune disorders that affect the skin. I have heard the word psoriasis for many years, but I don’t know anything about it except that it affects the skin. I want to learn more about the five types of psoriasis, so I’m sharing the information I have found with you.
First let’s take a look at the financial burden psoriasis has on the individual and the nation.
More than 3 million US cases per year
A new study on the economic burden of psoriasis found that the estimated annual expenses of psoriasis can be as high as $25,796 per person—or $135 billion for everyone with psoriasis in the United States.
Direct costs came with the highest price tag, which researchers estimated could be upwards of $8,000 annually per person.
Indirect costs, which take into account absences from work, or lost productivity on the job, due to psoriasis, were estimated to be upwards of $4,000 per person annually—or as much as $35.4 billion for the nation as a whole, according to the findings.
Researchers tallied intangible costs—which measure the toll that psoriasis takes on a patient’s quality of life—by looking at studies that asked patients what they would be willing to pay for relief from their disease. Over the course of a lifetime, patients would pay up to $11,498 to be rid of the physical discomfort and negative emotional impact of psoriasis, researchers reported.
Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disorder that manifests as skin redness and irritation. There are five different types of psoriasis: guttate, plaque, inverse, erythrodermic, and pustular. The most common is plaque psoriasis, in which raised, red skin patches are covered by flaky, silver-white patches of dead skin, known as scales.
The autoimmune disease most strongly associated with psoriasis was rheumatoid arthritis (RA). If you have psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, your risk for an additional autoimmune disease increases even more.
Guttate psoriasis is a type of psoriasis that shows up on your skin as red, scaly, small, teardrop-shaped spots. It doesn’t normally leave a scar. You usually get it as a child or young adult. Up to 10% of people with psoriasis have this type.
Guttate psoriasis causes small, pink-red spots on your skin. They often appear on your:
- Upper arms
Guttate psoriasis often comes on quite suddenly. There are a variety of known triggers, including:
- Upper respiratory infections
- Streptococcal infections
- Injury to the skin
- Certain drugs (including antimalarials and beta blockers)
Plaque psoriasis causes raised, inflamed, red skin covered with silvery, white scales. These patches may itch and burn. It can appear anywhere on your body, but often pops up in these areas:
- Lower back
This type shows up as areas that are bright red, smooth, and shiny, but don’t have scales. It’s usually found in these locations:
- Under thebreasts
- Skin folds around the genitals and buttocks
Inverse psoriasis may worsen with sweating and rubbing. A buildup of yeast may trigger it.
This kind of psoriasis is uncommon and mostly appears in adults. It causes pus-filled bumps (pustules) surrounded by red skin. These may look infectious, but are not.
This type may show up on one area of your body, such as the hands and feet. Sometimes it covers most of your body, which is called “generalized” pustular psoriasis. When this happens it can be very serious, so get immediate medical attention.
- Internal medications
- Irritating topical agents
- Overexposure to UV light
- Systemic steroids
- Emotional stress
- Sudden withdrawal of systemic medications or potent topical steroids
Erythrodermic psoriasis “throws off” the body’s chemistry. This causes protein and fluid loss that can lead to severe illness. Edema (swelling from fluid retention), especially around the ankles, may develop, along with infection. The body may not be able to maintain its temperature. This can produce shivering episodes. Erythrodermic psoriasis also can bring on pneumonia and congestive heart failure. People with severe cases often require hospitalization. Erythrodermic psoriasis can occur abruptly at the first signs of psoriasis or it can come on gradually in people with plaque psoriasis. The reason erythrodermic psoriasis appears is not understood. However, there are some known triggers. This type is the least common, but it’s very serious. It affects most of your body and causes widespread, fiery skin that appears burned. You might also have:
- Severe itching, burning, or peeling
- A faster heart rate
- Changes in body temperature
- Abrupt withdrawal of systemic treatment
- Severe sunburn
- Allergic, drug-induced rash that brings on the Koebner phenomenon (a tendency for psoriasis to appear on the site of skin injuries)
- Use of systemic steroids (cortisone)
- Emotional stress
If you have these symptoms, see your doctor right away. You may need to get treated in a hospital. This type of psoriasis can cause severe illness from protein and fluid loss. You may also develop an infection, pneumonia, or congestive heart failure.
Action Step: It is great when we can all learn something new and help each other out, so if you have psoriasis and you have found a great remedy, please share it with us. Leave your comment below.