Psoriasis Center

Psoriasis Symptoms

Symptoms of psoriasis
There are several, varied types of psoriasis. The symptoms for each type may vary in severity and appear in a wide array of combinations. Classic symptoms of psoriasis are raised, red patches of skin called "plaques" topped with loose, silvery scales. Plaques can occur anywhere, but commonly they occur on the knees, elbows, scalp, hands, feet, or lower back. The major symptoms of psoriasis generally include:

  • bright, red areas of raised patches on the skin,
  • flare-ups of many raindrop-shaped patches
  • patches covered with loose, silvery scales
  • itching
  • mild scaling on the scalp
  • similar plaques in the same area on both sides of the body
  • thick, crusted plaques on the scalp
  • tiny areas of bleeding when skin scales are picked or scraped off

Symptoms of severe psoriasis
Nail disorders are common, especially in severe psoriasis. These symptoms include:

  • a buildup of skin debris under the nails
  • separation of the end of the nail from the nail bed
  • tiny pits in the nails (not found with fungal nail infections)
  • yellowish discoloration of the toenails and sometimes the fingernails

Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis
In people with psoriatic arthritis, the symptoms of psoriasis will precede the development of arthritis. Initially, psoriatic arthritis first appears in the finger and toe joints closest to the nail. Other forms of psoriatic arthritis may be more challenging to diagnose. The joints could be affected in no recognizable pattern. Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis may include:

  • joint swelling
  • joint tenderness
  • painful joints

Psoriasis patches may develop on injured skin after an injury (such as a cut, burn, or excess sun exposure). This is a common response called "Koebner's phenomenon" that occurs in people diagnosed with psoriasis. It is important for people who have psoriasis to avoid irritating or injuring their skin.

When to seek help
Talk to a doctor the moment you notice symptoms of psoriasis as treatment may help stop the condition from progressing. Seek medical help for symptoms of psoriasis, such as:

  • bright red areas of raised patches (plaques) that are covered with loose, silvery, scaling skin

  • signs of a developing bacterial infection such as:

    • increased pain, swelling, redness, tenderness, or heat.
    • red streaks extending from the area.
    • a discharge of pus.
    • fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher with no other cause.
  • tiny pits or yellowish discoloration in the nails, separation of the nail from the skin, or buildup of skin debris under the nail.
  • thick, crusted patches on the scalp.

If you are currently being treated for psoriasis, call your doctor if you are:

  • taking medicine for psoriasis and experience serious side effects, such as:

    • bloody diarrhea
    • chills
    • fever
    • vomiting
  • notice severe and widespread psoriasis accompanied by increased irritation or inflammation, more than usual

Diagnosing psoriasis can be difficult early on but is not impossible. Continue reading the following section on diagnosis to discover how psoriasis may be idnetified and eventually treated by doctors.  More on all the types of tests, exams and diagnositic approach you can expect for psoriasis here.

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