Psoriasis: Pictures, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment

Articles OnPsoriasis Psoriasis Psoriasis - Psoriasis What Is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a skin disorder that causes skin cells to multiply up to 10 times faster than normal. This makes the skin build up into bumpy red patches covered with white scales. They can grow anywhere, but most appear on the scalp, elbows, knees, and lower back. Psoriasis can't be passed from person to person. It does sometimes happen in members of the same family.

Psoriasis usually appears in early adulthood. For most people, it affects just a few areas. In severe cases, psoriasis can cover large parts of the body. The patches can heal and then come back throughout a person's life.

The symptoms of psoriasis vary depending on the type you have. Some common symptoms for plaque psoriasis -- the most common variety of the condition -- include:

People with psoriasis can also get a type of arthritis called psoriatic arthritis. It causes pain and swelling in the joints. The National Psoriasis Foundation estimates that between 10% to 30% of people with psoriasis also have psoriatic arthritis.

Other types of psoriasis include:

No one knows the exact cause of psoriasis, but experts believe that its a combination of things. Something wrong with the immune system causes inflammation, triggering new skin cells to form too quickly. Normally, skin cells are replaced every 10 to 30 days. With psoriasis, new cells grow every 3 to 4 days. The buildup of old cells being replaced by new ones creates those silver scales.

Psoriasis tends to run in families, but it may be skip generations. For instance, a grandfather and his grandson may be affected, but not the child's mother.

Things that can trigger an outbreak of psoriasis include:

Physical exam. Its usually easy for your doctor to diagnose psoriasis, especially if you have plaques on areas such as your:

Your doctor will give you a full physical exam and ask if people in your family have psoriasis.

Lab tests. The doctor might do a biopsy -- remove a small piece of skin and test it to make sure you dont have a skin infection. Theres no other test to confirm or rule out psoriasis.

Luckily, there are many treatments. Some slow the growth of new skin cells, and others relieve itching and dry skin. Your doctor will select a treatment plan that is right for you based on the size of your rash, where it is on your body, your age, your overall health, and other things. Common treatments include:

Treatments for moderate to severe psoriasis include:

Theres no cure, but treatment greatly reduces symptoms, even in serious cases. Recent studies have suggested that when you better control the inflammation of psoriasis, your risk of heart disease, stroke, metabolic syndrome, and other diseases associated with inflammation go down.

Psoriasis affects:


National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease.

National Psoriasis Foundation.

The Psoriasis Foundation.

American Academy of Dermatology.

UpToDate: Epidemiology, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis of psoriasis.

FDA: "FDA approves new psoriasis drug Taltz," FDA approves Amjevita, a biosimilar to Humira.

Medscape: "FDA OKs Biologic Guselkumab (Tremfya) for Plaque Psoriasis."

National Psoriasis Foundation: Statistics.

PubMed Health: "Plaque Psoriasis."

World Health Organization: Global report on psoriasis.


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Psoriasis: Pictures, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment

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