Understanding Psoriasis

There’s no better time to learn about psoriasis than Psoriasis Awareness Month. Here’s some information to help you understand psoriasis.

What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a very common chronic skin disease that causes pain, irritation, redness, dryness, or scaly rashes. These symptoms are a result of cells growing beneath the skin and slowly surfacing, a process called cell turnover. Skin irritations cause by psoriasis typically occur on limbs, scalp, face, palms, and feet, but they can also occur on fingers, toes, or other areas of the body.

In some cases, psoriasis can lead to psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis is pain, swelling, or stiffness in the joints. Arthritis cause by psoriasis can develop slowly over time, or it can develop quickly.

What causes psoriasis?

The exact causes of psoriasis are unknown; however it does seem to be related to the immune systems use of T cells. There are a number of different things that may trigger psoriasis including, stress, illness, weather, and certain medications.

What are the symptoms of psoriasis?

There are both physical and emotional side effects of psoriasis. In addition to the skin irritation or arthritis that can be cause by the disease, psoriasis can also cause fatigue. People with psoriasis might also be at an increased risk of:

  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney loss
  • Liver disease
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Obesity
  • Osteporosis
  • Uveitis

Is there a cure for psoriasis?

There is currently no cure for psoriasis, but it may be treated by ointments, light therapy, medication, systemic treatments, or combination therapy. The type of treatment depends on a number of different factors. The type of psoriasis, the severity of the disease, and how a patient reacts to medications determine the type of treatment.

If you believe you exhibit any symptoms of psoriasis, contact your doctor.

Visit the  National Psoriasis Foundation’s interactive website to learn more about psoriasis.