August in National Psoriasis Awareness Month

According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, psoriasis affects 7.5 million people. It’s easy to think of psoriasis as just a “skin condition.” But psoriasis starts underneath the skin. It is a chronic disease of the immune system that can range from mild to severe. Psoriasis is a common skin condition that changes the life cycle of skin cells. Psoriasis causes cells to build up rapidly on the surface of the skin. The extra skin cells form thick, silvery scales and itchy, dry, red patches that are sometimes very painful.

Like most chronic illnesses, psoriasis may be associated with other health conditions such as psoriatic arthritis, Type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Not everyone with psoriasis experiences the same symptoms, which can vary from person to person based on the understanding_psoriasis_basicsseverity and type of psoriasis. However, common symptoms may include:

  • Raised, red, inflamed lesions
  • Silvery scaly plaques
  • Small, red, individual spots (more common in children and young adults)
  • Dry skin that may crack and bleed
  • Itching, burning, or soreness of the skin
  • Pitted nails or separation from the nail bed

The most common areas for psoriasis to appear include the knees, elbows, and torso. However, psoriasis can appear anywhere on the body, including the face, hands, feet, nails, genitals, and skin folds. Because the skin in each of these body areas is different, they may require different treatments.

If you have pain, stiffness, or swelling in your joints, you could be experiencing symptoms of a related condition called Psoriatic Arthritis.

Facts About Psoriasis

  • Psoriasis is an immune-mediated, inflammatory condition.
  • Psoriasis affects nearly 3 percent of the world’s population.
  • It is not contagious, but can spread from one person to another.
  • It affects both females and males of all ages, genders, and ethnicities.
  • There is no personality type associated with having psoriasis.
  • People who get psoriasis exhibit a broad range of symptoms that vary in severity.
  • Psoriasis may be physically painful. Inflamed lesions can crack open and bleed. Itching may be a constant problem. Or, psoriasis may not be painful or debilitating at all.
  • There are various treatments to manage the symptoms, but no one treatment is effective for everyone.
  • Although there are many treatments for psoriasis, many people still face a poor quality of life because treatments often don’t work, are very expensive or may cause serious side effects.
  • Psoriasis goes through cycles: sometimes better, at other times worse.
  • A form of arthritis, called psoriatic arthritis, affects 30 to 50 percent of the people who have psoriasis.
  • There is no cure for psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis.
  • People may have very strong emotional reactions to having psoriasis, such as embarrassment, anger or sadness.
  • Sometimes people who have psoriasis are ridiculed or avoided by others because of their psoriasis. Educating people about psoriasis can help manage this aspect of the disease.
  • People need support to help them cope with living with psoriasis.
  • It is important that people who have psoriasis learn as much as possible about their condition and understand that it is a medical problem and seek medical counsel.
  • Severe psoriasis has been associated with risks for developing so-called “comorbid” conditions, such as hypertension, the metabolic syndrome and liver disease, to name a few. It is, therefore, important to both monitor and treats psoriasis closely and efficiently.

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