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Guttate Psoriasis

Psoriasis and Other Papulosquamous Diseases. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2009: chap 8. [email protected]

The word "Guttate" means "drop" in Latin.

Guttate psoriasis is a skin condition in which small, red, and scaly teardrop-shaped spots appear on the arms, legs, and middle of the body. 

What are the causes and risks of Guttate Psoriasis?

The good news is, that this is a relatively uncommon form of psoriasis. The condition often develops very suddenly, usually after an infection, most notably strep throat. Guttate psoriasis is not contagious, which means it cannot spread to other people.

 It is most common in patients 30 years old or younger.

Psoriasis seems to be passed down through families. Doctors think it probably occurs when the body's immune system mistakes healthy cells for harmful substances. See: Inflammatory response

In addition to strep throat, the following may trigger an attack of guttate psoriasis:

  • Bacteria or viral infections, including upper respiratory infections
  • Injury to the skin, including cuts, burns, and insect bites
  • Some medicines, including those used to treat malaria and certain heart conditions
  • Stress
  • Sunburn
  • Too much alcohol

In general, guttate psoriasis is the most severe in persons who have a weakened immune system.

So if you have any of the following conditions, this puts you at higher risk for this illness.

  • AIDS
  • Autoimmune disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis
  • Chemotherapy for cancer

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