Psoriasis (pronounced /səˈraɪəsɪs/) is a disease which affects the skin and joints. It commonly causes red scaly patches to appear on the skin. The scaly patches caused by psoriasis, called psoriatic plaques, are areas of inflammation and excessive skin production. Skin rapidly accumulates at these sites and takes a silvery-white appearance. Plaques frequently occur on the skin of the elbows and knees, but can affect any area including the scalp and genitals
Psoriasis affects 2 to 2.6 percent of the United States population, or almost 5.8 to 7 million people. It occurs in all age groups and about equally in men and women. People with psoriasis may suffer discomfort, restricted motion of joints, and emotional distress.
What causes it?
The reason psoriasis occurs is unknown, so it’s impossible to prevent. However, many things are thought to trigger the condition, including a skin injury, sore throat or chest infections, certain drug treatments, sunburn and stress.
A specific form of arthritis is related to psoriasis.
Signs and symptoms
Psoriasis symptoms can vary from person to person but may include one or more of the following:
* Red patches of skin covered with silvery scales
* Small scaling spots (commonly seen in children)
* Dry, cracked skin that may bleed
* Itching, burning or soreness
* Thickened, pitted or ridged nails
* Swollen and stiff joints
There is to date no cure for psoriasis but satisfactory control of the disease is possible for most patients.
Some people have a single episode of psoriasis that clears after a few months and never recurs, quite likely after acute guttate psoriasis. Most other forms of psoriasis run a fluctuating course with periods of marked improvement and even complete clearance, only to relapse at a later time. There may be several years between relapses. A small group of patients have severe, persistent psoriasis that is very difficult to treat and can be very disabling.
Before going for Psoriasis treatment one needs to understand the disease. Psoriasis is a long-term non-contagious skin disease characterised by red scaly patches. There are different types of psoriasis and each of them requires different treatments. Brief information on different categories of Psoriasis and their treatment is given below.
1. Scaly patches caused by psoriasis known as psoriasis plaques are caused by excessive skin production and inflammation.
2. Small red spots on the skin called guttate is another form of psoriasis
3. A particular category of psoriasis known as guttate is found in groins, skin folds and armpits.
There is no known prevention. Keeping skin clean and moist and avoiding your specific psoriasis triggers may help reduce the number of flare-ups.
Alcohol is considered a risk factor for psoriasis in young to middle-aged men. Avoid or minimize alcohol use if you have psoriasis.