5 Things you need to know about psoriasis

By: Osler Health International
Posted on: 27 Apr 2023

Psoriasis is one of the most common skin conditions in the world, affecting millions of people. It’s a chronic autoimmune condition that causes skin cells to build up rapidly, resulting in the build up of red, itchy, and scaly patches on the skin. It can affect any part of your skin, including the scalp, face, hands, feet, nails, and genitals. This condition can cause significant discomfort and affect one’s quality of life. Although there is no cure for psoriasis, treatments are available to help manage its symptoms. Psoriasis tends to go through cycles of flaring and subsiding and can be triggered by infections, cuts or burns, and certain medications. Living with psoriasis can be challenging, but with lifestyle habits and coping strategies, you can improve your quality of life. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand what psoriasis is, what causes it, and how to manage its symptoms effectively. Here are five things you need to know about psoriasis to help you better understand this condition and take steps towards managing it.

Fact #1 – Causes of psoriasis

Psoriasis is a complex condition with various factors that can trigger or worsen its symptoms. While the exact cause is unknown, it’s believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. People with a family history of psoriasis are more likely to develop this condition. Certain triggers such as stress, infections, injuries, medications, and weather changes can also cause psoriasis to flare up. It is thought to be an immune system problem that causes skin cells to grow faster than usual. This rapid growth leads to the formation of dry, scaly patches. Identifying and avoiding triggers can help to manage psoriasis symptoms.

Fact #2 – Symptoms of psoriasis

Psoriasis is a skin condition that manifests with a variety of symptoms. They vary from person to person, but the most common symptoms include:

  • Red, itchy, and scaly patches on the skin. These patches can be small or large and may be raised or flat. They can also be painful or tender and may appear on any part of the body, including the scalp, face, hands, feet, nails, and genitals. 
  • Dry, cracked skin
  • An itching or burning sensation
  • Thickened, pitted, or ridged nails.
  • A rash that varies widely in appearance from person to person and can range from small scaling spots to major eruptions over much of the body. 
  • Rashes that frequently flare for short periods of time before subsiding
  • Rashes that differ in colour on different skin complexions from shades of purple with grey scale or pink or red with silver scale
  • Small scaling spots that are more commonly seen in children

Fact #3 – You face an increased risk of metabolic syndrome

What some people may not be aware of is that psoriasis is not only a disease of the skin and joints, but a systemic disease that is associated with a range of comorbidities, especially metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. In fact, a recent local study conducted during the circuit breaker period found that the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in psoriasis patients was 45.1 per cent, which is nearly 3 times higher than the general population in Singapore. This highlights the importance of not only treating the skin and joint symptoms of psoriasis but also managing the associated systemic comorbidities. While the association between psoriasis and metabolic syndrome is known, the local prevalence of it was only recently shown in this study, emphasising the need for greater awareness and attention to this aspect of psoriasis management.

Fact #4 – When to visit a doctor

If you suspect you have psoriasis, we recommend you see a doctor. This is especially true if you experience severe or widespread symptoms that cause discomfort, pain, or concern about the appearance of your skin. A family physician can diagnose psoriasis by examining your skin and taking a medical history. They may also take a skin biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. If you have been diagnosed with psoriasis, it’s important to keep in touch with your doctor to manage your symptoms and prevent complications. Your doctor can also recommend appropriate treatment options, including topical creams, light therapy, or oral medications. In addition, if you have other health conditions or take medications, it’s important to let your doctor know, as they may affect your psoriasis treatment plan.

Fact #5 – Psoriasis treatment options

While there is no cure for psoriasis, there are many treatment options available to manage the symptoms. Topical creams, ointments, and gels can be applied directly to the skin to reduce inflammation and itching. Phototherapy, or light therapy, exposes the skin to ultraviolet light to slow the growth of skin cells. Oral medications, such as retinoids and immunosuppressants, can also help reduce symptoms by targeting the immune system. In severe cases, biologic medications may be used, which are injected or infused into the body to target specific parts of the immune system. Lifestyle changes, such as avoiding triggers, managing stress, and maintaining a healthy weight, can also help manage psoriasis. It’s important to work with your doctor to find the most effective treatment plan, as the disease can be unpredictable and may require ongoing management.

Consult Osler Health for a professional medical opinion

Psoriasis can be a frustrating and uncomfortable condition, but the good news is that there are treatments available to manage symptoms and prevent complications. At Osler Health, we have experienced doctors who can help diagnose and treat psoriasis. As a GP clinic based here in Singapore, we understand that psoriasis can affect individuals of all ages and genders, which is why we have an expert team of men’s health, women’s health and child doctors available to help you. If you suspect that you may have psoriasis, don’t hesitate to seek professional help from the Osler Health team.  Don’t suffer in silence – reach out to us for the support and care you deserve. Remember, you’re not alone in this journey. By seeking professional help for your health care, you’re taking an important step towards better health and wellbeing. Contact us today to learn how we can assist you or make an appointment online now.

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