What is Psoriasis?

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What is Psoriasis?

It's easy to think of psoriasis as just a "skin condition." But psoriasis actually starts underneath the skin. It is a chronic (long-lasting) disease of the immune system that can range from mild to severe.

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

The good news is that there are available treatment options and strategies that can help you live well with psoriasis. Start here by learning as much as you can about psoriasis and exploring it from the inside out.

symptoms

The symptoms of psoriasis vary depending on the type you have. Some common symptoms for plaque psoriasis -- the most common variety of the condition -- include:

Plaques of red skin
Plaques of red skin, often covered with loose, silver-colored scales; these lesions may be itchy and painful, and they sometimes crack and bleed. In severe cases, the plaques of irritated skin will grow and merge into one another, covering large areas.
Disorders of the fingernails
Disorders of the fingernails and toenails, including discoloration and pitting of the nails; the nails may also begin to crumble or detach from the nail bed. Plaques of scales or crust on the scalp

Other forms of psoriasis include:

Pustular psoriasis , characterized by red and scaly skin on the palms of the hands and/or feet with tiny pustules.

Guttate psoriasis, which often starts in childhood or young adulthood, is characterized by small, red spots, mainly on the torso and limbs. Triggers may be respiratory infections, strep throat, tonsillitis, stress, injury to the skin, and use of anti-malarial and beta-blocker medications.

Inverse psoriasis, characterized by bright red, shiny lesions that appear in skin folds, such as the armpits, groin area, and under the breasts

Erythrodermic psoriasis, characterized by periodic, fiery redness of the skin and shedding of scales in sheets; this form of psoriasis, triggered by withdrawal from a systemic psoriasis treatment, severe sunburn, infection, and certain medications, requires immediate medical treatment, because it can lead to severe illness. People who suffer from psoriasis know that this uncomfortable and at times disfiguring skin disease can be difficult and frustrating to treat. The condition comes and goes in cycles of remissions and flare-ups over a lifetime. While there are medications and other therapies that can help to clear up the patches of red, scaly, thickened skin that are the hallmark of psoriasis, there is no cure.

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