Psoriasis [pronounced sore-EYE-ah-sis] is a noncontagious, lifelong skin disease that has been diagnosed in 4.5 million adults in the United States . While the cause is not known, it is thought to be triggered by a problem with the immune system. There also seems to be a genetic component to the condition.
Plaque Psoriasis is the most common form of the disease. The skin appears as raised, red patches or lesions covered with a silvery white buildup of dead skin cells, called scale. Other forms of the disease can cause small dot-like lesions (guttate), weeping lesions (pustular), intense inflammation (inverse) and intense shedding and redness (erythrodermic).
While Psoriasis can appear anywhere on the body, it is most commonly found on the scalp, knees, elbows and torso. It occurs equally in men and women and across nearly all races.
Psoriasis can cause mild to extreme physical discomfort, but most sufferers are most affected by the social and emotional issues associated with the disease. Many people are uncomfortable around people with the disease, and some even avoid contact because they mistakenly believe the lesions to be contagious. If the disease appears in visible areas, it may make the person feel very uncomfortable to appear socially.
While there is no cure for Psoriasis, many people experience great relief of symptoms through systemic or topical medications. Most people afflicted with Psoriasis experiment with several types of medicine before finding the best combination for relief. It is very important to work closely with your doctor to find the treatments that are best for you.