Psoriasis is unique in most cases. The symptoms may vary from person to person in terms of the location, spread, severity and duration of the lesions. However, few or all of the following features can be seen in most cases:
- Red, thickened patches/lesions (called plaques) on the skin – these may vary from small rain-drop-sized lesions to large ones covering an extensive area.
- The lesions are covered with silvery scales.
- Itching is a common feature of the lesions; there may be a burning sensation after scratching.
- Discomfort or itching may be experienced on and around the lesions.
- The lesions are dry; and excessive dryness on the palms and the soles may cause cracked skin and bleeding.
- During the active stage of the disease, scratching or cutting the skin may give rise to new lesions in the same areas (known as the Koebner phenomenon).
- Nails may be thickened, pitted or ridged. There may be discolouration and they may crumble or detach from the nail-bed.
- If the joints are affected, they may experience swelling and stiffening.
- Psoriasis, on account of its chronic nature and effects on the looks of patients, can lead to many emotional problems such as the following:
- anger and irritability; and
- shyness from embarrassment.
Treatment of psoriasis must be targeted to deal with all of the aforementioned emotional affections as well.