Already over 2000 years ago, the chronic, still incurable skin disease has been described, in which today an estimated two percent of all Europeans suffer: psoriasis, also known as psoriasis. Silvery gray, dry dandruff, including reddened skin, often accompanied by itching mark psoriasis. Men and women are equally affected. Anyone who suffers from psoriasis, in which the cell formation and cell growth of the skin cells gets mixed up.
Renewal of skin cells accelerates
Normally, skin cells renew themselves every 28 days, in patients with psoriasis this phase is often shortened to 4-7 days. The cells divide much faster than intended, do not develop properly, and deposit as dandruff on the surface of the skin. People are most often affected between the ages of 14 and 40 years.
Psoriasis can appear so harmless that the affected person is hardly affected. The inflammatory disease can also limit life as a disability and be particularly life threatening in particularly severe cases.
How does psoriasis develop?
The causes of psoriasis (psoriasis) are still not definitively explained - probably a malfunction of the skin as well as a misguided immune defense (especially the so-called T cells) in the sense of an autoimmune disease - so many patients report on psoriatic attacks bacterial diseases such as throat infections.
The tendency to develop psoriasis is inherited; The causes of the disease relapses vary individually: For example, infections, injuries, food, alcohol, stress or medication are possible. The course of the disease and the response to the treatment seems to be influenced by certain genes.
Psoriasis is not contagious and it is not primarily psychologically conditioned, with mental stress triggering a disease spurt or worsening the appearance of the skin. This in turn can lead to a vicious circle - after all, the chronic and incurable disease has consequences for health, quality of life and work and thus often means a strong psychological burden for those affected.
They are often marginalized or discriminated against due to the incalculable disease centers - the mental stress and social impairments are thus often more stressful than the disease itself. For example, in psoriatics, the rate of depression and alcohol dependence is increased.
In most cases, a thorough medical history (patient survey) and physical examination will be sufficient to diagnose or eliminate psoriasis beyond doubt. Rarely, the findings are similar to those of other skin diseases. In case of doubt microscopic examinations of small skin samples provide clarity.
Rheumatologists should be consulted if joint involvement is suspected (psoriatic arthritis). In these cases, X-ray examinations, computed tomography and also scintigraphy, in which pathological changes with the help of radioactive substances are made visible, can be used for the diagnosis assurance.
Forms of psoriasis
Depending on the course, severity of the skin lesions and concomitants different types of psoriasis are distinguished:
- Psoriasis (psoriasis vulgaris) is a common form of psoriasis and is found in 80 to 90 percent of psoriasis patients. In this, the described skin lesions are in the foreground.
- Less common is psoriasis guttata. It mainly occurs after infections and appears in the form of numerous small spots, accompanied by itching. The psoriasis guttata can turn into a chronic form of psoriasis.
- In 30 to 40 percent of people suffering from psoriasis psoriasis arthritis develops in the long term in various joints. It most often affects finger and toe joints.
- Psoriasis pustulosa is a rather rare special form of psoriasis. Here pus-filled blisters (pustules) form on reddened skin. Only the hands and feet are affected or the whole body (erythrodermia psoriatica) in the "generalized form".
Heavier courses and comorbidities increase with age. In addition, the risk of scaling of the blood vessels, in particular of the coronary arteries and thus of a myocardial infarction, appears to be increased in psoriatic patients; They also develop Crohn's disease more often.