What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a chronic skin disorder marked by raised areas of thickened skin and lesions made up of dead skin cells. Psoriasis results from an abnormal process in which new skin cells are made faster than old skin cells are cast off. Psoriasis is linked to an abnormal response of the immune system that causes inflammation. Psoriasis is not contagious.

Symptoms of psoriasis occur in outbreaks and include itchy, red or pink patches of thickened skin that are covered with whitish scales. Psoriasis most often affects the knees, elbows, lower back, and scalp.

There currently is no cure for psoriasis, but the condition can be controlled to minimize outbreaks with an individualized treatment plan that includes lifestyle changes and medications.

Complications of psoriasis can be serious. Complications include psoriatic arthritis and a secondary bacterial infection or fungal infection of the psoriasis rash. Psoriasis is also associated with atherosclerosis, diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease. Seek prompt medical care if you have symptoms of psoriasis. Early diagnosis and treatment can help reduce the risk for complications of psoriasis and associated conditions. 


What are the symptoms of psoriasis?

Symptoms of psoriasis can differ in severity, frequency and duration among individuals. Symptoms can occur at any age. If you have psoriasis, your symptoms may be minimal and include infrequent outbreaks, or you may experience more frequent breakouts on larger areas of skin.

Outbreaks of psoriasis include patches of raised areas of itchy, red or pink thickened skin and lesions tha... Read more about psoriasissymptoms


What causes psoriasis?

The exact cause of psoriasis is not known, but it is linked to an abnormal response of the immune system that causes inflammation. There also appears to be a genetic link to the disease. Psoriasis is not contagious, but it may be triggered by certain conditions. Conditions that may trigger psoriasis in some people include:


How is psoriasis treated?

Psoriasis is a chronic condition that is not curable. However, with a well-integrated, medically monitored plan of care, symptoms can be effectively controlled, and people with psoriasis can lead active, comfortable lives. A good treatment plan is individualized to your medical history, the severity of psoriasis, your specific triggers, and other factors.

A combination of treatmen... Read more about psoriasistreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 20, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Skin, Hair and Nails, Sinusitis

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