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Psoriasis

What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a chronic, non-contagious, skin condition in which skin cells grow too quickly, resulting in thick, white or red patches of skin to form. Usually the skin cells grow gradually and flake off about every 4 weeks. As this occurs, new skin cells grow to replace the outer layers of skin as they shed. When an individual is afflicted with psoriasis, new skin cells move rapidly to the surface of the skin in days rather than weeks. This gives the appearance of the thick skin patches, or "plaques." Plaques range in size, and most often appear on the knees, elbows, scalp, hands, feet, and lower back. Psoriasis can sometimes spread and lead to inflammation of the joints, which is referred to as psoriatic arthritis. 10-15% of people with psoriasis have psoriatic arthritis. Psoriasis is most common in adults, but can affect children as well.


The exact cause of psoriasis is unknown, but most doctors believe it occurs when the immune system overacts, causing inflammation and flaking of the skin.


Treatment:

There is currently no known cure for psoriasis. However, there are many available treatment options. Last Name(s) will help you determine which method is best for you. Treatment aims to slow the rapid growth of skin cells and reduce inflammation. Various treatment options include Topical Medications, Phototherapy, Oral Medications and Biologics.


Prevention:

There is no way to prevent psoriasis, but you may be able to reduce flare-ups and improve symptoms by abiding by the following guidelines:

  • Keep your skin moisturized.
  • Avoid extreme cold or dry climates. While cold weather can make psoriasis symptoms worse, sometimes heat and humidity can improve symptoms. Avoid scratching or picking skin.
  • Avoid infection. Strep throat in particular can cause psoriasis to appear suddenly, especially in children.
  • Limit alcohol intake, and do not smoke. Alcohol use can cause symptoms to flare-up, and smoking may make psoriasis more severe, or cause the symptoms to last longer.