Psoriasis is a common inflammatory skin condition that affects over 7 million people in the US. Psoriasis is not contagious, so those with it do not pose a health risk to other people.
What causes psoriasis?
It is an autoimmune disease, meaning the body’s own immune system is sending out faulty signals. This causes an increase in the growth cycle of skin cells, which causes the cells to pile up and form the psoriatic lesions.
Who gets psoriasis?
There is some genetic link to psoriasis, so if you have a blood relative with the disease your chances of having psoriasis are increased. It can occur in any age, but most commonly it begins before 35.
What does psoriasis look like?
There are multiple variations of psoriasis and sometimes more than one type can be present simultaneously.
What should I expect if I have psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a chronic, long-term disease with periods of remission and flares. You will most likely need to be on long-term medications. There is currently no cure for psoriasis, but newer medications make the long-term management of the disease much easier. There are several trigger factors that may cause flares in your condition. The more common triggers are infections, stress, injury, hormones, smoking, alcohol, seasonal changes, and NSAIDs.
What can I do if I have psoriasis?
It is important to see your dermatologist on a regular basis, especially during times of flare. There are many treatment options available, based on the severity of your disease. These range from topical creams, solutions, gels and ointments, oral steroids, light therapy, PUVA, methotrexate, and oral immunomodulators and biologics which cause the immune system to either stop or ignore the faulty signals being sent out.