Eczema and Psoriasis

There are key differences between eczema and psoriasis. Fist of all, eczema describes a group of diseases that lead to inflammation of the skin. Eczema is also known as “dermatitis”, and is usually triggered by allergies, irritation and poor venous return (slow blood flow to the veins). Psoriasis, on the other hand, is an autoimmune condition that results in patches of red, itchy, scaly skin. Psoriasis is thought to be a genetic condition, with environmental triggers. Psoriasis is also associated with conditions such as Crohn’s disease, arthritis, cardiovascular disease and depression.

There are five types of psoriasis: plaque; guttate (small lesions appearing around the arms, hands and feet); inverse (affecting the ears, naval, lips, web spaces in between the fingers and toes, and other folds in the skin around the body); pustular; and erythrodermic (all over the body). 90% of cases of psoriasis are plaque psoriasis.Fingernails and toenails may also be affected.

Eczema is usually treated with paraffin-based moisturizers and topical creams. Steroid-based creams (corticosteroids) and antibiotics may need to be used. Capsaicin cream may also be used to treat allergy-triggered eczema. Antihistamines, oatmeal baths, coconut oil and olive oil may also be effective treatments for eczema. Psoriasis sufferers may also use corticosteroids, as well as vitamin D3 topical creams, ultraviolet light treatment and immunosuppressants such as methotrexate. Beta blockers and NSAIDs can potentially make psoriasis worse. HIV/AIDS sufferers may also get more severe psoriasis.

245 million people worldwide suffer from dermatitis, as of 2015. In the US, it affects between 10% and 30% of people, and most commonly starts in early childhood. Females are more commonly affected, and dermatitis may continue into adulthood, as hypersensitive skin doesn’t necessarily stop becoming highly sensitive after a certain age. Around 40 million people in the United States have psoriasis. Total direct cost of psoriasis is estimated to be between 51.7 billion and 63.2 billion per year.

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