Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a common skin disorder that forms thick, red, bumpy patches covered with silvery scales. They can pop up 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.

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

Symptoms

Psoriasis starts as small, red bumps, which grow bigger and form scales. The skin appears thick but may bleed easily if you pick or rub off the scales.

Rashes may itch and skin may become cracked and painful . Nails may form pits, thicken, crack and become loose.

How Do I Know If I Have Psoriasis?

If you have a rash that isn’t healing, see your doctor.

Causes

No one knows the exact cause of psoriasis, but experts believe that it’s 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.

Some things that can trigger outbreaks are:

  • Cuts, scrapes, or surgery
  • Emotional stress
  • Strep infections

Treatment

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 cases of psoriasis include:

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Is There a Cure?

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

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Debra Jaliman, MD on June 26, 2019

Sources

SOURCES:

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.

PubMed Health: "Psoriasis."

 

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