What is psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a common, chronic, non-contagious skin condition characterized by clearly defined red scaling plaques that come and go. Most people have isolated plaques on their elbows, knees, groin, or scalp but it can affect nearly all of your skin. The lesions are typically very persistent without treatment. Many people also have joint pain that may be related to psoriasis.
Who gets psoriasis?
Psoriasis affects about 3% of the population. Psoriasis most commonly appears during two peak times, between the ages of 15-25 and the second peak occurs from 50-60 years of age.
What causes psoriasis?
Psoriasis is multifactorial and is classified as an immune-mediated inflammatory disease. Immune mediated means your own white blood cells have been ‘turned-on’ and are activated which results in inflammation. The genetic component influences your presentation as well as your response to treatment. Psoriasis may be exacerbated by alcohol use, obesity, smoking, stress, and trauma.
How is psoriasis treated?
Since psoriasis is multifactorial, the treatment is multifactorial as well. We start by recommending all patients join the National Psoriasis Foundation. Since the latest research suggests an association with diabetes, obesity, and heart disease, we recommend a good diet, healthy lifestyle choices, and a close relationship with your primary care physician. Localized disease can be treated with corticosteroids, emollients, tar preparations, calcineurin inhibitors, calcipotriol, and other topical agents but systemic disease may require systemic management with phototherapy or biologic agents.
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