What is Erythrodermic Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease and comes in several forms, some more debilitating than others.
These forms include plaque, guttate, inverse, pustular, and erythrodermic. Psoriasis occurs when cells multiply at an increased rate, pushing layers of cells to the surface where they die and create a thick red layer otherwise known as plaques.
Plaque psoriasis is the most common form and produces thick red patches that often have a silvery layer. The other types of psoriasis also cause painful and disfiguring symptoms. One of the most severe types is erythrodermic psoriasis, which comes with intense symptoms that can be life-threatening.
Erythrodermic psoriasis is an inflammatory disease that spreads rapidly, sometimes across the entire body, turning it almost entirely red and patchy. It produces an itchy and/or painful rash that makes performing daily tasks difficult. At its worst, it can cause serious and sometimes fatal complications. In addition to the physical issues the disease generates, sufferers can develop psychological issues due to the disfigurement it causes. Erythrodermic psoriasis is an extremely harmful disease that cannot be ignored.
Erythrodermic Psoriasis Causes
Patients must have the gene, which is hereditary, for erythrodermic psoriasis to become symptomatic. If a member of the family has this disease, then other members of that same family are at an increased risk for developing erythrodermic psoriasis.
The condition most often occurs in patients with other forms of psoriasis, particularly unstable plaque psoriasis. The causes or ‘triggers’ for this condition include severe sunburn, infection, drug-induced rashes, stress, alcoholism, cessation of systemic treatment, and the use of cortisone. Anything that lowers the effectiveness of a patient’s immune system can contribute to an episode. Erythrodermic psoriasis is rare, affecting only three percent of people who have psoriasis, and it can attack these patients several times during the course of their lives.
Erythrodermic Psoriasis Symptoms
Erythrodermic psoriasis symptoms include wide-spread and extreme redness covering a large portion of the body, large sheets of skin shedding, extreme pain, burning, itching, and fluctuations in body temperatures. The condition may appear gradually or suddenly develop.
Often, sufferers have no warning about the onset of this illness.
This condition adversely affects the body by causing fluid and protein loss due to severe inflammation. Other symptoms/side effects of erythrodermic psoriasis can show up as additional diseases, such as edema, infection, congestive heart failure and pneumonia. Patients should not treat such an outbreak as they do other forms of psoriasis. Patients who exhibit symptoms of this disease need to seek medical help as soon as possible to prevent life-threatening conditions.
Erythrodermic Psoriasis Treatment
Psoriasis treatments may include topical steroid creams, oral medications, biologic infusions or injections, light therapy, topical retinoids, vitamin D creams, etc. Finding the right combination of treatments can be challenging and requires the participation of the patient and their physician.
A patient with erythrodermic psoriasis may need to be hospitalized. When there, the patient may receive a combination of common psoriasis treatments, while being constantly monitored. Doctors may prescribe medicated wet dressings in addition to a topical cream, prescription medications, and biologics to help relieve symptoms.
Sufferers may also need psychological help since the condition causes many to suffer social anxiety, low self-esteem, and severe depression. People who do not understand the condition may think it is contagious and avoid contact with sufferers. Treatment for erythrodermic psoriasis should include help for both the physical and emotional symptoms of the disease.
Erythrodermic Psoriasis Treatment Options
Psoriasis treatments are constantly evolving, so patients have more options than they used to. Summers Laboratories is a leader in producing products to help treat this difficult condition. For instance, our Cutar Emulsion Psoriasis Lotion helps reduce the itching, redness, and scaling that psoriasis causes.
Psoriasis patients need to keep their skin moisturized. Problem-solving skincare products like Cutemol Emollient Cream and Keralyt 5 Cream help soothe the skin and prevent irritation that can erupt into a full-on flare.
Patients often suffer from painful and embarrassing scalp flakes. Fortunately, they can battle this issue with specialized shampoos and scalp treatments, such as Keralyt 5 Shampoo and Tarsum Relief Shampoo. When patients feel and look better, they can lessen the number of their flares and help prevent more serious issues from arising, like an erythrodermic psoriasis outbreak.
Erythrodermic Psoriasis, like any chronic condition, can be difficult to manage. Fortunately, the right combination of medications and lifestyle changes can minimize the number of flares a patient experiences. Proper skin maintenance, a healthy diet, and a reduction in stress can fend off outbreaks.
Unlike other forms of the disease, erythrodermic psoriasis can be life-threatening and attack internal organs as well as the skin. When patients suspect they have this condition, they should seek immediate medical intervention. Although this type of psoriasis is rare, those with other forms of psoriasis can develop it, so take good care of your skin and be sure to seek help if you need it.