Psoriasis: An overview and some basic facts

Knowing where you stand

When your doctor first diagnoses psoriasis, you may feel overwhelmed. Although it can be a relief to learn that your condition has a name and that treatment is available, that relief can be accompanied by feelings of shock, fear, uncertainty, and even anger.1

Everyone’s experience of psoriasis will be different, varying from very mild occasional patches and itching to much more severe physical symptoms.


If you have psoriasis you don’t need to “just accept it.” By learning as much as you can about the condition and seeking appropriate medical advice, you will have the information you need to manage your psoriasis in the best possible way.

What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory medical condition that most commonly involves skin cells growing too quickly. Faulty signals originating in the immune system cause new skin cells to form in days rather than weeks.2 The excessive skin cell growth leads to psoriasis lesions. The lesions have three characteristic features: scaling, thickening and inflammation (redness).3

Everyone’s experience of psoriasis will be different, varying from very mild occasional patches and itching to much more severe physical symptoms.
Up to 30% of people who have psoriasis may also get psoriatic arthritis in their joints.4

If you think you may be affected, talk to your doctor and explain why.

How many people are affected?

Anyone can develop psoriasis. It is equally common in men and women and affects over 7 million people in the United States alone.

What causes psoriasis?

The exact cause of psoriasis is still unknown. It is a complex condition with multiple potential causes, which may be genetic, immunological, environmental and psychological. These factors alter how skin cells function, speeding up the rate at which skin cells are produced and shed.

Psoriasis is not contagious and cannot be transferred through any form of physical contact.


[References]
  1. https://psoriasis.org/teens/about-psoriasis/living-with-psoriasis, p. 1 Last accessed date: 11 Aug 2015
  2. https://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/diseases-and-treatments/m---p/psoriasis, p. 1, Last accessed date: 11 Aug 2015
  3. Barker,J., Menter,A., and Smith,C. (2008) Fast Facts: Psoriasis. Health Press Limited. Oxford. p. 14
  4. http://psoriasis.org/psoriatic-arthritis, p. 1, Last accessed date: 11 Aug 2015

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