Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that affects about 3 percent of Americans. We do not currently know the exact cause of psoriasis, but it’s believed to be a combination of immune system dysregulation, genetics, and a possible triggering event in the patient’s life. Skin cells usually grow gradually, but psoriatic skin cells replicate at an increased rate. This increased cell division causes the thickened skin plaques seen in plaque psoriasis.
Psoriasis comes in many forms. Each differs in severity, duration, location, shape, and pattern of presentation. Overlapping types of psoriasis can occur in one person at the same time.
While there is a familial association, meaning that psoriasis can be passed genetically within families, it is not contagious.
Although no cure currently exists for psoriasis, many different treatments can control symptoms.
Before recommending treatment for your psoriasis, we’ll get to know you as a person, not simply a patient, in order to tailor a regimen that will work best for you and your lifestyle. We consider many factors, such as the severity of disease, the amount of affected surface area, the affected areas of the body, the presence or absence of psoriatic arthritis, and the psychosocial impact of the psoriasis on you as an individual.
Yes. It’s estimated that up to 30 percent of people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis. There’s also a higher correlation of heart disease, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, and depression in patients affected by psoriasis. People with psoriasis also have an increased risk of certain types of cancers, such as lymphoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers.
For the above reasons, it’s especially important for individuals with psoriasis to have regular checkups with their dermatologist and with their primary care physician.