By Nurse Diane
Psoriasis is a common skin condition that causes skin redness and irritation. Most people with psoriasis have thick, red skin with flaky, silver-white patches called scales.
Psoriasis is very common. Anyone can get it, but it most commonly begins between ages 15 and 35. It is not contagious. You cannot spread it to others.
Psoriasis seems to be passed down through families. Doctors think it probably occurs when the body's immune system mistakes healthy cells for dangerous substances.
The following may trigger an attack of psoriasis or make the condition more difficult to treat:
- Bacteria or viral infections, including strep throat and upper respiratory infections;
- Dry air or dry skin;
- Injury to the skin, including cuts, burns, and insect bites;
- Some medicines, including antimalarial drugs, beta-blockers, and lithium;
- Too little sunlight;
- Too much sunlight (sunburn);
- Too much alcohol; and
- Psoriasis can appear suddenly or slowly. Many times, it goes away and then comes back again and again.
- Irritated, red, flaky patches of skin;
- Most often seen on the elbows, knees, and middle of the body; and
- Red patches may appear anywhere on the body, including the scalp
The goal of treatment is to control your symptoms and prevent infection.
Three treatment options are available:
- Skin lotions, ointments, creams, and shampoos. These are called topical treatments.
- Pills or injections that affect the body's immune response, not just the skin. There are called systemic, or body-wide, treatments.
- Photo-therapy, which uses light to treat psoriasis
Psoriasis is a life-long condition that can be controlled with treatment. It may go away for a long time and then return. With appropriate treatment, it usually does not affect your general physical health. This month is Psoriasis Awareness month. For More information about psoriasis click on this site: http://www.psoriasis.org/ and remember, it is a disease, and is not contagious.
- Psoriasis is the most common autoimmune disease in the U.S., affecting as many as 7.5 million Americans.
- Psoriasis occurs when the immune system sends out faulty signals that speed up the growth cycle of skin cells, resulting in painful red, scaly patches on the body that bleed and itch.
- Psoriasis is not contagious.
- Psoriasis frequently occurs with a range of other health concerns including diabetes, hypertension, heart attack and depression.
- Psoriasis impacts the emotions. Nearly 70% of people with psoriasis say their disease makes them feel self-conscious, embarrassed and helpless.
- Up to 30 percent of people with psoriasis also develop psoriasis arthritis, which causes pain, swelling and stiffness around the joints.
- There currently is no cure for psoriasis.