Psoriasis is a skin condition affecting over 8 million Americans and can often be hard to deal with.
We have our newest Apex provider, Dr. Gregory Delost, here to break down some information about psoriasis, what it looks like, how common it is, and more.
About Dr. Gregory Delost
Dr. Gregory Delost grew up in Youngstown, Ohio and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania. He completed medical school at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine where he earned accolades and awards for his research on acne and cutaneous lymphoma.
He went on to complete his internship and residency at University Hospitals in Cleveland. He gained the love of managing patients with complex skin diseases including psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, autoimmune blistering conditions and more.
Dr. Delost is proud of his osteopathic training and takes a holistic approach with an emphasis on education. He sees patients of all ages for a wide range of skin conditions, encompassing medical, surgical and aesthetic dermatology.
Learn more about Dr. Delost here.
What does psoriasis look like?
Red, raised well-defined areas of skin that are covered with silvery scale.
Is psoriasis contagious?
Because this skin condition has a rash-like appearance, it can be concerning to those who aren’t familiar with it.
So, is it contagious?
“Absolutely not! Actually, patients with psoriasis are less likely to have skin infections. Unfortunately, this common misconception can be devastating for patients, especially younger children who are often ostracized from public places such as swimming pools. This misconception can be traced back to thousands of years ago when the majority of people who were put in leprosy colonies probably just had psoriasis. Whenever I see a new psoriasis patient who is worried about being contagious, I touch a psoriasis spot and then touch my face to demonstrate that I am not worried about infection.”
How is psoriasis diagnosed?
If you’re not sure if your skin condition is psoriasis, you should absolutely see a dermatologist. A misdiagnosis can lead to treatments that actually make the problem worse, not better.
In order to find out if what you have is actually psoriasis…
“Usually a dermatologist can diagnose psoriasis just by looking at your skin. Sometimes, a skin biopsy can be helpful. There are no blood tests to diagnose psoriasis.”
How common is psoriasis?
“Very common. It is estimated that psoriasis affects 2 to 3 percent of the total population, which is roughly 125 million people worldwide, including 8 million Americans who suffer from psoriasis.”
Who gets psoriasis?
Unfortunately, no specific person can be “immune” to psoriasis. In fact, it can affect everyone.
“Psoriasis can develop at any age and equally affects males and females. It is much more common in adults than children and seems to occur in two clusters: one between ages 30 and 39 and another between ages 50 and 69 years.”
What causes psoriasis?
“We still don’t know. What we do know is that a complex combination of immune, genetic, and environmental factors play pivotal roles in the disease. We know that our immune system is extremely important for properly functioning healthy skin. Normally, it takes a whole month for new skin cells to make it to the outside layer of our skin to be shed. However, in psoriasis, the immune cells make the skin cells grow too quickly and they make it to the outside layer in just one week which causes thick skin we see in psoriasis. In terms of genetics, we know that 40 percent of psoriasis patients have a first degree relative with psoriasis. We have also identified specific genes that convey an extra risk for psoriasis. Environmentally, we know smoking, obesity, alcohol, infections, and certain medications are risk factors for psoriasis or can make psoriasis worse.”
What parts of the body can psoriasis affect?
We all wish those pesky skin irritations would just stick to the areas we can cover up, right? Well…psoriasis is not one to grant that wish.
“Psoriasis can occur anywhere on the body, but some of the more common sites include the scalp, knees, elbows, belly-button and lower back. Additionally, psoriasis can affect genitals, nails, and joints. It can happen is a few small areas or involve the entire body.”
Are there different types of psoriasis?
“Yes. As dermatologists, we classically group psoriasis into six different types. In reality, there probably are even more types. Sometimes, we see patients that have a combination of multiple psoriasis types. It can be helpful to classify our psoriasis patients based on type as it can guide our treatment plans.”
These are the six most common types of psoriasis:
- Plaque psoriasis is the most common type which involves 1-10 cm sized red scaly plaques on the body.
- Guttate psoriasis usually occurs in children or younger adults without a previous history of psoriasis. Usually, these patients have a sudden eruption of many smaller red, scalp spots after strep throat.
- Pustular psoriasis can also develop quickly with multiple pustules that form over areas of red skin. This type of psoriasis can be severe and even life-threatening. Pustular psoriasis can also only involve the palms and soles, which can be quite debilitating.
- Inverse psoriasis can be mistaken for bacterial or fungal infection as it typically lacks the classic thick silvery scale. It occurs in skin folds like the armpits, inner thighs, under the breasts, and the genitals and could be quite painful
- Nail psoriasis can occur in patients with any type of psoriasis. It can range from small pits on the nails to tan-brown discolorations under the nail to even separation of the nail from the nailbed.
- Psoriatic arthritis is a type of arthritis that can cause joint pain, swelling, and morning stiffness in patients with psoriasis. It can occur in different patterns and groups of joints. Commonly, it can affect the small joints of the fingers and toes. Sometimes, the joints could swell and the finger can look like a sausage. Psoriatic arthritis can be symmetric (the right and left elbow) or asymmetric (only the right elbow). It can also involve the joints of the spine. Sometimes, without proper medical attention, psoriatic arthritis can even destroy or deform joints.
To learn more about Psoriasis head over to https://www.apexskin.com/2019/08/02/what-is-psoriasis/.