Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune illness and, according to the National Institutes of Health, is the most prevalent autoimmune disease in the U.S, affecting as many as 7.5 million Americans. Of the five types of Psoriasis, Plaque Psoriasis is the most common. It appears on the skin as thick red skin with white patches or “scales” caused from the overproduction of skin cells. Our skin normally sloughs off and recycles every 4 weeks, but in Psoriasis the immune system increases the speed of that cycle and the result is a buildup of dead skin cells. Psoriasis can develop at any age, but the common age for diagnosis is between ages 15 and 35.

It is not contagious. 30% of all psoriasis sufferers report having a relative that also has Psoriasis. Because the symptoms can vary from mild to severe the emotional and physical impact of the condition can be dramatic and isolating.  

The goal of treatment is to control symptoms and prevent infections. Based on the individuals needs and severity of condition, a prescriber may choose:

  • topical therapy- medication that is applied to the skin
  • phototherapy- treatment using light
  • systemic therapy- medication that is taken either by mouth or injection

References

*Psoriasis.org. (n.d). Retrieved August 4, 2011, from http://www.psoriasis.org
*PubMedHealth (November 8, 2010). Retrieved August 4, 2011, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

 

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