Erythrodermic Psoriasis – What Is It?
One of the most chronic and inflammatory skin conditions, psoriasis affects your skin and joints apart from various other organs. The disorder is often characterized by red and itchy skin that tends to become thick and scaly.
The leading cause behind psoriasis is the overactive immune system that starts attacking the body’s healthy cells instead of protecting it. There are various classifications of psoriasis. When it affects the soles of your feet and the palms of your hands, it is called palmoplantar psoriasis or plantar psoriasis. The most common form of psoriasis is rupioid psoriasis. It is characterized by well-defined cone-shaped plaques or thickened areas on the skin.
Erythrodermic psoriasis is a rare and life-threatening condition that affects 2-5 percent of the population. This kind of psoriasis interrupts the average temperature of the body and the balance of fluids in it. The person can experience inflamed feet and ankles and become prone to many complications like pneumonia and heart failure.
Symptoms of Erythrodermic Psoriasis
Doctor examining hand of a psoriasis patient, Credit: Pixabay
Many people ignore the symptoms of this condition in the beginning. They become worried when the disease progresses slowly. You should contact your doctor the moment you begin to experience the following:
Skin discolouration and shedding
Excessive episodes of skin flaking
Frequent changes in body temperature during cold and hot days
A rapid heart rate
Itching and painful skin
What Triggers Erythrodermic Psoriasis
Person showing medicines to doctor, Credit: Pixabay
Although the exact causes of this condition are not yet known, there is sufficient information on what triggers its symptoms. They are:
Allergic reactions to medications
Certain systemic steroids that act as sudden triggers
Certain illnesses and infections
Exposure to intense sunlight and sunburns
Excessive alcohol consumption
High stress levels
Diagnosis and Treatment
A full-body physical examination is carried out by doctors to identify the onset of erythrodermic psoriasis in a person. Generally, when a person experiences intense redness, flaking, and peeling of skin in 90 percent of their body, he/she receives a diagnosis of this condition. Further, any other infection as a result of erythrodermic psoriasis’s damage is also checked. Depending upon the severity of the condition, the patient is admitted into the hospital.
The treatment plan depends on the severity of your symptoms. Although not curable, there are various treatment options that your doctor can prescribe you to help you get relief from swelling, tenderness, pain, and redness. Common treatment options are:
Systemic drugs for the immune system
1. Topical Treatments
A topical cream for psoriasis, Credit: Pixabay
Topical treatments like topical steroids, topical non-steroid, and over-the-counter topical treatments are the first line of treatment. Topical steroids are formulated from the corticosteroid hormones produced by the adrenal glands in the human body. They are used to reduce inflammation and swelling of the skin.
To control the plaques that develop as a result of this condition, non-steroidal treatments like anthralin, vitamin A, and synthetic vitamin D3 are used.
Over-the-counter topical treatments contain salicylic acid and coal tar. They are helpful in moisturising and relieving the burning and itching sensation. They are found as lotions, foams, and bath solutions.
2. Oral Treatments
Doctor administering an oral treatment to a patient, Credit: Pixabay
Certain medications that are taken orally are prescribed for those patients on whom other treatments fail to work. Medications like Acitretin, Cyclosporine, Methotrexate are used to reduce inflammation inside the cells of the affected person. The patient may feel a reduction in inflammation and skin tenderness after their administration.
3. Systemic Drugs for Immune System
Drug testing in the hospital, Credit: Pixabay
They are also called biologics and they target those parts of the immune system that cause this disease. By targeting cells and proteins like T-cell, and TNF-alpha, interleukin 17-A these drugs slow down the extent of damage in the body that is caused by an overactive immune system.
4. Ayurvedic Treatment
Food items prescribed in the Ayurveda, Credit: Pixabay
There is a psoriasis treatment in ayurveda too. It involves transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle and including regular exercise in your daily routine. You need to hydrate yourself, eliminate all animal based products from your diet, and consume certain ayurvedic medicines to reduce the severity of this disease.
Erythrodermic psoriasis is a severe skin condition that should be immediately brought to the attention of your healthcare provider if you experience it’s symptoms. The treatment options that your doctor prescribes will prove immensely beneficial in reducing the extent of it’s damage in your body.