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Psoriasis (cont.)

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What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a noncontagious, chronic skin condition that produces plaques of thickened, scaling skin. The dry flakes of skin scales result from the excessively rapid proliferation of skin cells. The proliferation of skin cells is triggered by inflammatory chemicals produced by specialized white blood cells called lymphocytes. Psoriasis commonly affects the skin of the elbows, knees, and scalp.

The spectrum of disease ranges from mild with limited involvement of small areas of skin to large, thick plaques to red inflamed skin affecting the entire body surface.

Psoriasis is considered an incurable, long-term (chronic) inflammatory skin condition. It has a variable course, periodically improving and worsening. It is not unusual for psoriasis to spontaneously clear for years and stay in remission. Many people note a worsening of their symptoms in the colder winter months.

Picture of scalp psoriasis
Picture of scalp psoriasis. Source: iStock.com.

Psoriasis affects all races and both sexes. Although psoriasis can be seen in people of any age, from babies to seniors, most commonly patients are first diagnosed in their early adult years. The quality of life of patients with psoriasis is often diminished because of the appearance of their skin. Recently, it has become clear that people with psoriasis are more likely to have diabetes, high blood lipids, cardiovascular disease, and a variety of other inflammatory diseases. This may reflect an inability to control inflammation. Caring for psoriasis takes medical teamwork.

Picture of psoriasis on the legs
Picture of plaque psoriasis on the legs. Source: iStock.com.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/23/2017

Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/psoriasis/article.htm

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