What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is chronic inflammatory skin condition characterised by the appearance of red and scaly patches on different part of the body. The most affected areas are the elbows and knees, scalp, abdomen and back. Rarely, it affects the palms and soles, genital and flexural areas of the body such as armpits and groins. Psoriasis can also affect the nails.
Psoriasis is considered as a multifactorial disorder where genetic, immune and environmental factors are important. Psoriasis can flare up in response to some triggers such as stress, illness, injuries to the skin and lifestyle. However, in most cases there is not a recognisable cause. During a flare-up, the condition typically worsens for weeks or even months.
Psoriasis presents with red and scaly patches which are usually distributed symmetrically. However, the clinical presentation is variable, and psoriasis can present in different patterns which can also overlap. Psoriasis can also affect the joints causing a type of arthritis called psoriatic arthritis. The most common types of psoriasis are-
- Guttate (small and scaly spots)
- Small plaque and chronic plaque (larger patches that guttate psoriasis)
- Flexural pattern (affecting flexural areas of body such as armpits and groins)
- Palmo-plantar pustular pattern (little pustules on the palms and instep of the soles)
- Erythrodermic psoriasis (widespread and involving most of the body surface)
How Common is Psoriasis in Cayman?
Psoriasis affects an estimated 2 – 3% of the global population. The exact cause of the disease is unknown. However, you are at a higher risk of developing psoriasis if it runs in your family, so there is likely a genetic component involved. Environmental and immune factors can contribute to trigger and aggravate the disease.
Psoriasis can affect people at any age, including young people and children. The presentation of psoriasis in children is similar to those seen in adults, though there are a few differences; for example, children often develop psoriasis around their face and joints. Guttate psoriasis (small and scaly spots) is also more common among children than adults.
When to See a Dermatologist
Psoriasis is a long-term condition that causes repeated flare-ups. The symptoms associated to psoriasis may vary, but the patches are sometimes painful and itchy. In addition to physical discomfort, psoriasis can have a profound psychological effect.
The best way to manage psoriasis is to consult your Cayman dermatologist. You should make an appointment with your dermatologist if:
- If you think you may have psoriasis
- The patches are spreading and are symptomatic
- You are concerned about the appearance of your skin
- Your psoriasis is associated with joint problems (such as pain, swelling, stiffness, or inability to perform daily tasks)
- Your symptoms do not improve with over-the-counter remedies and with the treatment prescribed by your family doctor.
Here at our Dermatology Health Suite in Grand Pavilion, Grand Cayman, our team of expert dermatologists, Dr Davide Altamura (Consultant Dermatologist & Dermatosurgeon, Cayman) and Dr Alison Duncan (Consultant Adult & Paediatric Dermatologist, Cayman) are fully equipped to help you to manage your symptoms. There are a variety of treatments and lifestyle changes available that can help to reduce psoriasis symptoms and keep the condition in remission.
For those with severe symptoms, our dermatologists also have significant experience in managing patients using more advanced treatments for psoriasis, such as biologic therapy. Infectious, Inflammatory & Immunological Dermatology Services forms a large part of our work.