Psoriasis occurs in people with a genetic predisposition (hereditary), as a result of certain common triggers, such as for example, stress, infections, or a reaction to certain drugs.
Its symptoms are very variable, from a mild, stable form, limited to small areas, to very extensive forms, sometimes reaching almost the entire skin.
In its most common form, it appears as a rash with thick red patches, covered with white scales, located mainly on the elbows, knees, and scalp. However, patches can appear anywhere, including on the face, hands, genitals, or perianal region, and alterations of the nails can also occur. In cases of mild psoriasis, there may only be discomfort due to its symptoms, but in more severe cases, it can be painful. These lesions can cause itching, sexual embarrassment, social embarrassment, or professional difficulties, having a serious impact on patient's quality of life.
Thus, it is easy to understand how mental health can be affected by this disease, as patients end up avoiding situations where the skin is exposed, such as going to the beach or swimming pool, and sometimes even avoiding developing sentimental relationships for fear of intimacy. This limits the patient’s emotional and social life resulting in isolation and depression. Even the choice of clothing is conditioned by the disease, due to the need to cover as much skin as possible. Another important constraint is discrimination at work, limiting both access and career progression.
In addition to mental health disorders, psoriasis is associated with a large number of other pathologies, including psoriatic arthritis (painful and swollen joints), obesity, type II diabetes, high blood pressure, and atherosclerosis.
At the same time, there are some situations that can worsen the clinical picture, such as stress, cold weather (as the skin becomes drier, psoriasis tends to improve with sun exposure), various infections, some medication, the consumption of alcoholic beverages, and smoking.
This is, therefore, a complex disease that requires an early diagnosis and a very careful evaluation.
Currently, there are many treatments for psoriasis available, the choice of which is determined by the severity and type of lesions, with topical (local) or systemic therapies or phototherapy (exposure to ultraviolet radiation in a hospital context).
Although there is no cure for psoriasis, the most recent type of treatment, known as biotechnological therapy, represents a huge advance with excellent results, even in severe and extensive cases of plaque psoriasis. However, studies indicate that if the patient only begins this type of treatment after suffering from this disease for many years, it is more difficult to achieve success.
Either due to this reason or due to the number of years avoiding physical and psychological suffering, the most important thing is early access to a specialized consultation, diagnosis, and appropriate intervention.
For more information please contact Grupo HPA Saude on +351 282 420 400.