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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.

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