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August is Psoriasis Awareness Month

What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a noncontagious, chronic skin condition that produces plaques of thickened, scaling skin. The dry flakes of skin scales result from the excessively rapid proliferation of skin cells. The proliferation of skin cells is triggered by inflammatory chemicals produced by specialized white blood cells called lymphocytes. Psoriasis commonly affects the skin of the elbows, knees, and scalp.

The spectrum of disease ranges from mild with limited involvement of small areas of skin to large, thick plaques to red inflamed skin affecting the entire body surface.

Psoriasis is considered an incurable, long-term (chronic) inflammatory skin condition. It has a variable course, periodically improving and worsening. It is not unusual for psoriasis to spontaneously clear for years and stay in remission. Many people note a worsening of their symptoms in the colder winter months.

Like most chronic illnesses, psoriasis may be associated with other health conditions such as psoriatic arthritis, Type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Common psoriasis symptoms can include the following:

  • Red patches of skin covered with silvery scales
  • Small scaling spots
  • Dry, cracked skin
  • Itching, burning, or soreness
  • Itchy plaques
  • Small bleeding points when the scale is peeled away

What causes psoriasis?

The exact cause remains unknown. A combination of elements, including genetic predisposition and environmental factors are involved. It is common for psoriasis to be found in members of the same family. Despite research over the past 30 years, the “master switch” that turns on psoriasis is still a mystery.

Is psoriasis contagious?

No, psoriasis is not contagious. People used to believe that psoriasis was the same as leprosy, but that is not the case. You cannot get psoriasis by touching, kissing, or having sex with someone who has psoriasis. People get psoriasis because of their genes, not their hygiene, diet, lifestyle, or any other habits.

Psoriasis facts:

  • Psoriasis is a chronic, inflammatory skin disease.
  • Plaque psoriasis is the most common form of psoriasis.
  • Obesity, diabetes, and heart disease are more common in people with psoriasis.
  • Psoriasis can be initiated by certain environmental triggers.
  • A predisposition for psoriasis is inherited in genes.
  • Although symptoms and signs vary, they include red, scaling plaques of itchy, elevated skin affecting the elbows, knees and scalp.
  • Psoriasis is not contagious.
  • Psoriasis gets better and worse spontaneously and can have periodic remissions (clear skin).
  • Psoriasis is controllable with medication.
  • Psoriasis is currently not curable.
  • There are many promising new therapies, including newer biologic drugs

If you suffer from psoriasis, you and your healthcare provider need to set specific targets or goals for improved life and health outcomes.

Psoriasis diagnosing:

Psoriasis is often diagnosed or at least suspected on the basis of its appearance and distribution. However, psoriasis may resemble eczema or other skin diseases and further tests may be required. Psoriasis cannot be cured, but like many other medical conditions, it is controllable with treatment. Your doctor may refer you to a specialist such as a dermatologist, rheumatologist or immunologist to help diagnose and treat your form of psoriasis.

To learn more visit: https://www.psoriasis.com/

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