There are more than 7 million psoriasis sufferers in America.
This article addresses the most common questions about it: –
‘What is it?’
‘What causes it?’
‘Can you catch it from someone who has it?’ and
‘Is there a cure?’
1. Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition.
While it’s not life-threatening, it can be very severe and disabling. It often appears between the ages of 15 and 35 but it can develop at any age. As many as 15 per cent contract psoriasis before their tenth birthday and it occurs nearly equally in men and women.
There are five types of psoriasis but the most common form, plaque psoriasis, appears as raised, red patches or lesions covered with a silvery white build-up of dead skin cells, called scale. Psoriasis can occur on any part of the body but typically on the scalp, elbows, knees, and the base of the back. However, it can develop anywhere, including the nails, palms, soles, genitals and face (which is rare). Strangely, the patches of white skin often show up on the same place on each side of the body.
2. The causes of psoriasis are still unknown to us but it is believed to have a genetic component. Most professionals agree that the immune system is set off by mistake, which speeds up the growth cycle of skin cells. A normal skin cell matures and falls off within a month but a psoriatic skin cell takes only a few days to rise to the surface and then, instead of falling off, the cells accumulate and form the lesions.
3. It’s not contagious; you can’t ‘catch’ it and people who have it are no threat to other people but it is an embarrassing condition which as well as causing an itchy skin can have a psychological effect too, since it influences people’s readiness to let others see their skin. This not only can dictate what clothes can be worn or which social activities can be enjoyed but it can also make it difficult to mix with the opposite sex.
4. Regrettably, there is no cure but there are more and more treatments available which at least reduce the symptoms. People often need to try out different treatments before they find one that works for them.
Diseases which affect the skin may seem relatively unimportant when compared with other conditions but it’s worth remembering that the skin is the largest organ in the body and it plays an important role in controlling body temperature and as a defence against infection. Large areas of psoriasis can lead to infection, loss of fluid and bad circulation.
So, is there hope for a cure?
Yes there is. Scientists are studying psoriasis more than ever before. They understand much more about its genetic causes and how it involves the immune system. Both the federal government and The National Psoriasis Foundation are funding research to discover the cause of psoriasis and to find a cure.
You can find out more about how to moisturise and soothe the skin and control the scaling and flaking associated with psoriasis by clicking through now to: –