Guttate Psoriasis - Causes and symptoms

Authored by Dr Oliver Starr, 08 Jul 2017

Patient is a certified member of
The Information Standard

Reviewed by:
Dr Hannah Gronow, 08 Jul 2017

  • For some reason the germ (bacterium) group A beta-haemolytic streptococcus, which can cause a really sore throat, sometimes causes a skin reaction.
  • It's thought to be caused by your immune system going into 'overdrive' and accidentally reacting to your own skin.
  • The throat infection is found in about 80% of cases.
  • No one can quite figure out why this happens but some people seem to be more prone to it than others. It might be to do with your genetic make-up.
  • In this way it's similar to the way a throat infection can lead to rheumatic fever.
  • Rarely some medications can cause guttate psoriasis, particularly lithium (used for mental health problems) and beta-blockers (used in heart conditions).
  • The spots come on pretty quickly, over just a day or two.
  • They usually cover the chest, tummy, upper arms and thighs.
  • Usually the palms of the hands and soles of the feet are not affected.
  • It only occasionally affects your head and face.
  • They are slightly raised, light pink skin marks that might have a white scale to their surface.
  • Usually the appearance of the spots is the worst thing about it.
  • It doesn't usually make you feel ill or feverish.
  • The spots are not usually painful, but they can be a tiny bit itchy (only a little bit though).
  • You can imagine that coming up in spots all over your body in just a few days can be pretty distressing: a lot of people are quite upset when they see their doctor.
  • Usually young people get guttate psoriasis, in their teens or twenties. Men and women are affected equally.
  • It seems to occur all over the world.
  • No one really quite knows how common it is. In general, a GP in the UK would have heard of it and probably know how to diagnose it, but they may not have seen a case themselves for many years.

My rheumatologist is pretty sure I have PA but I am having difficulty getting fully diagnosed. I have an appt with her in 6 weeks. Since late 2016 I have some head psoriasis( no history of any...

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