This is a chronic condition typically defined by skin that is red, thick and covered with scaly patchy areas that are silver or white.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease (where the body attacks itself). There are different types of psoriasis. The most common type is called plaque psoriasis.
Some people with psoriasis develop a specific type of arthritis, known as "psoriatic arthritis." The symptoms associated with psoriatic arthritis can also range from mild to severe and can affect different joints in the body. Mild symptoms commonly affect the joints at the end of the toes and fingers. Severe symptoms can affect the spine, especially the lower (lumbar) spine area.
Psoriasis is not contagious and typically begins between fifteen and thirty-five years of age. (There is an increased risk if other family members have psoriasis.) The symptoms can vary a lot from time to time. Often the attacks are caused by a "trigger," which can also make the psoriasis more difficult to treat. Some common triggers include:
People with a weakened immune system due to medication or illness may have more severe symptoms.
There is no cure for psoriasis. Treatment is focused on controlling the symptoms and preventing infection. There are basically 3 types of medical treatment for psoriasis.
Your healthcare provider may order an antibiotic if you have a bacterial infection related to the psoriasis.
Some things you can do at home to ease the symptoms include:
Stress reduction techniques may be helpful, but their effectiveness is not well documented.
When you contact your healthcare provider for evaluation of your psoriasis, be prepared to discuss your symptoms, how long you've had them, if you have had them before and if they are progressing or changing.
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