The Early Signs of Plaque Psoriasis
Skin issues and changes are common, but sometimes what looks like nothing more than a little patch of redness or a bit of dry skin can really be a sign of something more serious. And it could be that your skin issues are actually a condition affecting your entire body and health.
That’s the case with plaque psoriasis, an autoimmune condition that initially appears to be a skin disorder. Psoriasis affects you far below the surface of your skin, causing inflammation and other serious health issues – and 7.5 million people in the U.S. live with it daily¹.
What Is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a skin condition that’s fairly common. However, while it primarily affects the skin, it can also have long-lasting effects on your entire body.
Psoriasis causes skin cells to turn over more rapidly, which leads to cells building up on the surface of the skin². You end up having too many skin cells at the surface, which leads to the formation of scales and red patches – and those skin changes can cause itching and pain.
And unfortunately psoriasis won’t go away once it’s been diagnosed. As a chronic disease, psoriasis and its symptoms can come and go. There are options to treat your symptoms and manage these flare-ups, but there isn’t a cure for psoriasis. Instead, you’ll have to work on managing this condition to stay as healthy as possible.
When you’re diagnosed with psoriasis, there are a few different forms of the condition. Your unique type of psoriasis will dictate the signs and symptoms you experience. And the most common kind of psoriasis is plaque psoriasis³.
Plaque psoriasis causes red, raised patches on the skin as well as silvery scales that can appear all over the body. These patches and scales are known as plaques. Left untreated, these plaques can bleed and become increasingly painful.
In order to manage and treat plaque psoriasis, it’s important to treat both your skin and any symptoms of the condition as soon as they appear.
Look for These Signs of Plaque Psoriasis
You can spot plaque psoriasis by its very first symptoms. When any kind of psoriasis strikes, it affects the skin most obviously, and plaque psoriasis specifically can cause both plaques and a unique kind of rash.
Plaques are lesions on the skin that have clear boundaries. They’re typically elevated, feel solid to the touch, look oval in shape, and grow to be more than one centimeter in size⁴. However, when plaques first appear, they can start out very small and subtle – and they can look like entirely different skin conditions.
Plaque psoriasis can cause small red bumps on your skin, as well as irregular patches of dry, pink or red spots⁵. Over time, if left untreated or unnoticed, these little bumps can grow together and form plaques. And if you don’t treat the underlying cause of these plaques, the plaques can lift away from your skin, causing cracking and bleeding.
The plaques that come with plaque psoriasis most commonly form in the following areas of the body⁶:
- The elbows
- The front and back of the knees
- The stomach, back, and chest
- The buttocks
- The scalp
In addition to symptoms on your skin, plaque psoriasis can cause symptoms in other ways and areas of the body. Plaque psoriasis can cause changes and issues with your nails, so watch for changes like separating toe or finger nails, nail pitting, yellow or brown spots, or changes in the shape of your nails.
Plaque psoriasis can also cause other health and medical conditions. Called comorbidity symptoms, these symptoms are actually diseases or health changes, so they can cause you to experience a wide range of different symptoms⁷. Plaque psoriasis can increase your risk for:
- Cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Inflammatory bowel disease
Plaque Psoriasis Can Change Over Time
Because plaque psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder, it can cause a host of different signs and symptoms each time it flares up. While the most obvious signs of this condition appear on your skin in the form of uncomfortable plaques, it’s also important to keep an eye on changes that happen to your skin as well as your overall health.
If you’re noticing some of the signs mentioned here, make sure to visit your doctor to find out if plaque psoriasis is the condition you’re living with. Staying informed and making sure you know the signs of plaque psoriasis will help you catch any of these symptoms as soon as they appear.