You cannot give the condition to someone nor can you catch it from an infected person even if you come in direct contact with a psoriasis plaque. Simply put, Psoriasis is not contagious.”
Psoriasis is an immune mediated skin condition that manifests as scaly, itchy patches in various parts of the body. There are many myths about the disease and an attached social stigma that causes people with the condition to shy away from seeing the doctor and getting the condition treated. There is no complete cure for the disease, but that does not mean infected individuals cannot lead a normal life. Medication and a few lifestyle changes can help keep the condition under control, if not reverse it. Here are some frequently asked questions on psoriasis
Q:WILL SOMEONE CATCH THE DISEASE BY COMING INTO CONTACT WITH AN INFECTED INDIVIDUAL?
Dr:This is probably the most common doubt people have about psoriasis. People believe that Psoriasis is contagious and that individuals with the condition must be isolated. This is completely wrong. You cannot give the condition to someone, nor can you catch it from an infected person even if you come in direct contact with a psoriasis plaque. Simply put, Psoriasis is not contagious.
Q:WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF PSORIASIS?
Dr:When skin cells grow and multiply at an abnormal pace there is a build-up of cells that are not fully mature on the surface of the skin. These appear as flaky, scaly patches that are quite itchy. However, what causes the skin cells to multiply at such a rate is due to overactive immune system. There is a genetic component involved, but scientists are yet to get to the root cause.
Q:ARE THERE SPECIFIC TRIGGERS FOR PSORIASIS?
Dr:Someone predisposed to or diagnosed with psoriasis will notice that certain factors trigger the condition. Some triggers include:
Triggers are unique for every individual. It is best to make note of your triggers and avoid them as much as possible.
Q:CAN A PARENT PASS ON PSORIASIS TO THEIR CHILDREN?
Dr:Psoriasis does run in families. It is not a 100% guarantee that it will pass on from the parent to the child but having a parent with the condition increases the child’s chances of having psoriasis. More than 30% of people with psoriasis have a history of the condition in their family. At the time of diagnosis, it helps to inform the doctor if you have a relative with psoriasis.
Q:HOW IS PSORIASIS DIAGNOSED?
Dr:Patients usually present with patches of itchy, flaky skin. In most cases, patients assume it is a regular skin rash and attempt to treat it with home remedies or over-the-counter topical creams and antihistamines. However, when the condition persists, and they notice a few more patches they go to the dermatologist. The doctor will examine the nature of the patch and the nails of the individual. If the doctor suspects Psoriasis, he may recommend a biopsy to confirm the same. A small skin sample is taken and sent to the lab.
Q:ARE THERE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PSORIASIS?
Dr:There are FIVE main types of psoriasis:
Q:HOW IS PSORIASIS TREATED?
Dr:There is no cure for psoriasis, but the disease can be treated to reduce symptoms and control flare-ups. Most of the medications are topical creams such as moisturisers, Vitamin D creams, topical steroid creams, creams with salicylic acid/ coal tar and topical retinoids. The doctor may also prescribe a course of immunosuppressants and anti-inflammatory drugs. Other treatment options include controlled UV light exposure treatment and new injectable biological medicines.
Q:WHAT IS PSORIASIS SEVERITY CLASSIFICATION?
Dr:This refers to the severity of the disease in each patient. Depending on the intensity of the disease, treatment is decided upon. If an individual has psoriatic lesions on less than 10% of his body, the primary mode of treatment is topical-only. Systemic treatment is prescribed for individuals with psoriatic lesions on 10% or more of the body surface or if the lesions are in sensitive locations (such as genitals, scalp, face, hands, and feet) or if topical therapy did not yield results.
Q:WHAT IS PSORIATIC ARTHRITIS? DOES EVERYONE WITH PSORIASIS GET IT?
Dr:About 30% of people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis. This causes inflammation and swelling in the joints, which causes pain and discomfort. While psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are both conditions that cause inflammation and pain in the joints, there are a few differences in location and symptoms. Psoriatic Arthritis causes
Q:WHAT LIFESTYLE CHOICES CAN ONE MAKE TO HELP WITH PSORIASIS?
Dr:Besides following your doctor’s advice diligently there are a few things you can do to keep a psoriasis flare at bay. Maintain a healthy body weight, quit smoking, reduce alcohol consumption, and eat a balanced diet. Keep your skin clean and moist and stay away from triggers. Since stress is a trigger, meditation and yoga can help calm your nerves.
CONSULTANT – GASTROENTEROLOGIST
MBBS.,MD.,DM MEDICAL GASTROENTEROLOGIST