Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition in which skin cells build up and form thick, white, silvery, or red patches of skin called plaques. Ranging in size from small to large, these patches most commonly appear on the hands, elbows, lower back, knees and scalp. It can also affect finger nails and toe nails and, in some cases, cause inflammation of the joints. Psoriasis isn’t contagious and can’t be spread by touching someone who has it.
What Triggers Psoriasis?
What activates psoriasis in one person, may not be the same for another. There are, however, a handful of established triggers, including:
Scratches, sunburns, vaccinations and other skin injuries can cause psoriasis. And skin injuries can cause patches to appear anywhere on the body, including the site of the injury.
Anxiety and stress can cause psoriasis to flare up or to aggravate existing psoriasis.
Some medicines have been known to trigger psoriasis. Lithium, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, beta-blockers, and certain high blood pressure and heart medications have been found to make psoriasis worse.
It’s possible to experience a psoriasis flare-up after bronchitis, tonsillitis, an earache or a respiratory infection. Strep throat can also cause psoriasis to suddenly appear, especially in children.
Living With Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a long-term disease, but there are ways to take control:
Be in the know. An important step to managing psoriasis is to learn more about the disease. By educating yourself, you are able to make informed decisions about how to treat your psoriasis and avoid things that can make it worse.
Pay attention to your joints. If your joints feel stiff, it may be a sign of psoriatic arthritis, which can eat away at the joints. Being mindful of how your joints feel – especially when you wake up – is essential.
Check your nails. If your nails develop a yellowish-orange color, or if you the nail begins to pull away from the nail bed, it’s a good idea to see a dermatologist. You may be experiencing psoriatic arthritis.
Take care. People who have psoriasis also have an increased risk for developing heart disease and diabetes, so taking good care of yourself is important. Maintaining a healthy diet, exercising and avoiding smoking and drinking may help considerably.
For more information about treating psoriasis or any of the services we offer, contact Dr. Goldman. We are located in New York City and can be reached directly at 212.962.1115. We look forward to hearing from you soon.