Psoriasis Information and Treatment
Psoriasis is a common condition affecting the
skin. It commonly causes red scaly patches to appear on the skin. In
addition it can affect the joints, nails and eyes. Plaque psoriasis
is the most common type of psoriasis and is characterized by red
skin covered with silvery scales and inflammation. Patches of
circular to oval shaped red plaques that itch or burn are typical of
plaque psoriasis. The patches are usually found on the arms, legs,
trunk, or scalp but may be found on any part of the skin. The most
typical areas are the knees and elbows. The disorder is a chronic
recurring condition which varies in severity from minor localised
patches to complete body coverage. Fingernails and toenails are
frequently affected (psoriatic nail dystrophy). Psoriasis can also
cause inflammation of the joints, which is known as psoriatic
arthritis . Ten to fifteen percent of people with psoriasis have
psoriatic arthritis. Several factors are thought to aggravate
psoriasis. These include stress and excessive alcohol consumption.
Individuals with psoriasis may suffer from depression and loss of
self-esteem . As such, quality of life is an important factor in
evaluating the severity of the disease. There are many treatments
available but because of its chronic recurrent nature psoriasis is a
challenge to treat.
Psoriasis is a chronic (long-lasting) skin
disease of scaling and inflammation that affects 2 to 2.6 percent of
the United States population, or between 5.8 and 7.5 million people.
There is a genetic predisposition to psoriasis i.e. it tends to run
in families. Psoriasis is also influenced by many environmental
factors. It is not contagious and is not due to an allergy.
Psoriasis can affect people at any age, but it most often strikes
those between the ages of 15 and 35. Doctors now believe that
psoriasis starts with the immune system. T cells, a type of white
blood cell, usually protect the body against infection and disease
by attacking bacteria and viruses. However, when you have psoriasis,
your T cells mistakenly attack your skin cells instead. Your body
then produces other immune system responses, leading to swelling
and rapid production of of skin cells.