Types of Psoriasis
There are several types of psoriasis which differ in severity and have unique, identifiable symptoms. Because different treatments are used according to type, determining which type of psoriasis a patient has is very important. Except in the case of psoriatic arthritis, it is more common to have only one type; however is it possible to have different types of psoriasis simultaneously, have one type change into another type, or develop different types throughout your life. The types of psoriasis range in severity from mild to severe enough to interrupt daily activities. It is important to work with your physician to find which treatment is best for your specific type of psoriasis.
In determining the type of psoriasis an individual has, physicians look at the size and appearance of psoriasis plaques (patches of reddened, raised skin covered with scale). They take into consideration which parts of the body are affected, the severity and duration of symptoms, and the pattern of scale on the skin. The most common areas of the body affected include the scalp, knees, hands and feet, and elbows; however, it may appear on any part of the body. Burning and/or itching is a usual sign of progression of the disease, but in the early stages, psoriasis may be not be easily detected.
The various types of psoriasis are summarized below:
Plaque psoriasis is characterized by large areas patches forming particularly on the limbs and trunk. The areas affected by plaque psoriasis may join together symmetrical masses spread over extensive areas of the skin.
Guttate psoriasis is characterized by many tiny areas of psoriasis. Guttate psoriasis causes small red bumps similar in size and shape to drops of water appear on most of the body.
Pustular (pronounced Pus-tew-ler) psoriasis is an uncommon, but potentially very serious type of psoriasis. There are two main types of Pustular Psoriasis: Generalized and Localized.
Inverse psoriasis occurs in the folds of the skin in areas which are likely to rub together and sweat. Because the skin folds are affected, inverse psoriasis occurs more often and more severely in overweight individuals.
Flexural psoriasis is characterized by inflamed, bright red yet smooth patches of skin that may be painful and itchy. With flexural psoriasis the rubbing together and sweating of the skin folds aggravates irritation of the affected areas.
Erythrodermic psoriasis of the few skin-condition emergencies, it is a rare but very serious complication of psoriases. Hospitalization is required for people with erythrodermic psoriasis, as it has the potential to be life threatening.
Psoriatic Arthritis is a specific type of arthritis which affects 23% of people with psoriasis. Psoriatic Arthritis is characterized by pain and swelling in and around the joints accompanied by scaly patches of skin parts of the body.
Scalp psoriasis is a more common form of psoriasis; at least half of all people with psoriasis have it. Scalp psoriasis, in essence, is merely the acceleration of the natural regeneration process of the skin.
Nail psoriasis affects approximately one half of people with active psoriasis. Nail psoriasis refers to the changes in finger and/or toenails caused by the disease.
Psoriasis can occur simultaneously with seborrhoeic dermatitis, a more common scalp condition. The combination of seborrhoeic dermatitis and psoriasis is referred to as Sebopsoriasis.
Seborrheic dermatitis is characterized by excessive oiliness of scalp and hair with intense itching. Patients with Seborrheic dermatitis will develop red, inflamed scalp skin covered with greasy, yellowish scales that grow into crusts.
Palmoplantar psoriasis is a chronic, recurring condition that affects the palms of hands and soles of feet. Palmoplantar psoriasis looks similar to other skin conditions, but the appearance of lesions elsewhere on the body is an indicator of psoriasis.
Koebner phenomenon is most often associated with psoriasis patients. Koebner phenomenon can also happen in people affected with many other types of skin conditions including eczema, systemic juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, lichen planus and warts.
Psoriasis, which is worst in the sun-exposed areas of the face, neck, hands and forearms, is referred to as photosensitive psoriasis. Some people with photosensitive psoriasis will experience flare-ups of their rash after sun exposure.