About 95 percent of the time, a psoriasis diagnosis can be made by visual inspection. There are five types of psoriasis:
Plaque psoriasis is characterized by red patches with a silvery-white buildup of dead skin cells, appearing most often on the scalp, knees, elbows and lower back. They are often itchy, painful, and may crack and bleed.
Guttate psoriasis often starts in childhood or as a young adult. Its the second most common type of psoriasis, occurring in about 10 percent of people who get psoriasis.
Inverse psoriasis shows up as very red lesions in body folds. It may appear smooth and shiny. Many people have another type of psoriasis on the body at the same time.
Pustular psoriasis is characterized by white pustules, blisters of noninfectious pus composed of white blood cells, surrounded by red skin. It is not infectious or contagious.
Erythrodermic psoriasis is a particularly inflammatory form that often affects most of the body surface. Its rare, occurring in three percent of people who have psoriasis, often with unstable plaque psoriasis. The lesions are not clearly defined. There is widespread, fiery redness and exfoliation of the skin, with severe itching, and often pain. This form of psoriasis can be life-threatening.
Psoriasis can be mild, moderate or severe. Disease on less than three percent of the body is considered mild, and constitutes about 80 percent of cases. Three to 10 percent of the body affected is considered moderate; more than 10 percent of the body affected is considered severe. Twenty percent of cases are moderate to severe. The severity is also measured by how much the disease affects a persons quality of life. Psoriasis can have a severe impact on daily activities, even if it involves a small area, such as the palms of the hands or soles of the feet.
Psoriasis is not preventable, but it may be helpful to avoid the triggers which an individual has found to aggravate his or her particular case.
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