What is Plaque Psoriasis & How is it Treated?
What is Plaque Psoriasis?
Plaque Psoriasis is one of the most common types of Psoriasis. In Plaque Psoriasis, the lesions appear as raised red patches which are covered by dead skin cells and debris. These patches of skin or in other words Plaques tend to appear mostly on the scalp, knees, elbows, and the back. The rashes caused by Plaque Psoriasis tend to be extremely painful and itchy and in some instances they may break open and even bleed.
As with the other forms of psoriasis, Plaque Psoriasis is also an inherited inflammatory condition characterized by elevated and inflamed skin. Since these lesions are scaly, bumpy and itchy hence they are called Plaque Psoriasis. This condition is quite common in the United States and about 5% of the population suffers from Plaque Psoriasis.
What Causes Plaque Psoriasis?
As stated, like other forms of psoriasis, Plaque Psoriasis is also an inherited condition and is caused due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. There are certain gene defects leading to mutation in genes resulting in development of this condition. Studies suggest that there is mutation of more than a single gene responsible for development of Plaque Psoriasis.
Once an individual inherits the defective gene responsible for causing psoriasis there are also certain environmental factors which assist in triggering the inflammatory reaction. This environmental trigger could a normal viral or a bacterial infection. A simple bruise or a cut may also result in an individual with a defective gene to cause this condition and may also result in an inflammatory response to cause Plaque Psoriasis.
What are the Symptoms of Plaque Psoriasis?
Plaque Psoriasis is characterized by red raised patches of skin which does not go away with any over the counter medications. These patches of raised skin will be scaly and will have well defined edges. The most common areas of the body where these plaques or raised lesions tend to occur are the scalp, face, elbows, knees, the back, and the soles of the foot. When a biopsy of these lesions are conducted then the lesions caused by Plaque Psoriasis is more thick and inflamed and this is a telling difference between Plaque eczema which is another skin condition and Plaque Psoriasis.
How is Plaque Psoriasis Diagnosed?
Plaque Psoriasis can be quite easily diagnosed by most of the dermatologist based on the appearance of the rash, the distinct plaques that are seen with this condition, and the areas where these lesions are typically seen which is characteristic of Plaque Psoriasis. In some cases, the nails may also get affected due to Plaque Psoriasis. To confirm the diagnosis, the dermatologist may conduct a biopsy of the lesions to check for inflammatory markers and the results in cases of Plaque Psoriasis will be that the lesions will be thicker and highly inflamed which will confirm the diagnosis of Plaque Psoriasis.
How is Plaque Psoriasis Treated?
Plaque Psoriasis is a condition which may not be necessarily cured since it is an inherited condition and tends to have periods of exacerbations and remissions. These exacerbations and remissions occur on their own but may in part be related to certain environmental triggers like a bacterial or a viral infection or undue stress on the part of the patient. When these triggers are activated then treating Plaque Psoriasis becomes that much more complicated.
Thus, treatment of Plaque Psoriasis depends on the severity of the condition and is aimed at helping improve the patient's sense of well being. Mild cases of Plaque Psoriasis can be treated with topical applications of cream while more severe cases of Plaque Psoriasis may require that much more aggressive treatments so as to tame the severity and make the patient more comfortable from Plaque Psoriasis.
While severe cases of Plaque Psoriasis require aggressive medical management, for mild cases there are also certain home and natural treatments that a patient can follow to treat Plaque Psoriasis. Hydrocortisone cream has shown to be quite effective in treating exacerbation of Plaque Psoriasis. There are main shampoos and ointments that contain tar which is yet another effective remedy for treating mild cases of Plaque Psoriasis. For mild cases of Plaque Psoriasis, the patient is asked to absorb sunlight, especially on the parts that have the lesions as it has shown to have proven benefits for taming down the lesions caused by Plaque Psoriasis.
Here it should be noted that sunbathing should be done only when the sunlight and the overall weather condition is tolerable. It should be noted here that the sunlight and the ointments prescribed to treat Plaque Psoriasis may not penetrate deep inside the skin due to the thickness of the scales of Plaque Psoriasis and hence it is recommended that the scales be removed gently by washing with warm water so that there is no irritation to the skin. If the patient tries to remove the skin the hard way then there are high chances that the site may start to bleed and this may act as a trigger to aggravate Plaque Psoriasis.