What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a chronic, inflammatory condition that predominately affects the skin and joints. More than 125 million people worldwide have psoriasis, which is roughly 2-3% of the population. It can occur at any age, but typically begins during adulthood. Psoriasis is thought to be due to an overactive immune system, leading to increased inflammation throughout the body. The cause for the altered immune system is not entirely known, but genetic and environmental factors play a role. Psoriasis is not contagious, and you cannot transmit psoriasis to another individual.
Psoriasis typically presents as a red, scaly rash that can occur on any area of the body, but most commonly involves the scalp, elbows, knees, hands, feet, and lower back. Psoriatic arthritis may develop in 10-30% of those diagnosed with psoriasis, and can lead to permanent joint damage if not treated. A variety of nail changes may be seen as well. Interestingly, individuals with psoriasis have an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, depression, and various other health conditions, which is why early recognition and treatment of psoriasis is critical.
Psoriasis is a life-long condition, and there is no cure. However, significant improvement can be seen with the use of a variety of medications. Treatment options include: topical medications, ultraviolet light therapy, laser treatment, oral medications, and injectable medications. The treatment plan is individualized for each patient, depending on the severity of his or her psoriasis as well as any underlying medical conditions.
If you have any questions about psoriasis or would like a psoriasis treatment plan that is right for you, I’m here to help!
Joshua Pitre, MD
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