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The Painful Truth About Psoriasis--In A Nutshell

The National Psoriasis Foundation defines psoriasis as "an immune-mediated disease that causes raised, red scaly patches to appear on the skin." The exact cause of this disorder in not known, but genetics and the immune system play a big role in its development. Men and women are affected equally, but Caucasians are more susceptible than African Americans. Most people are initially diagnosed somewhere between 10 and 15 years of age. Psoriasis is not a contagious disease!

There are five basic types of psoriasis:

Plaque psoriasis is the most common form of psoriasis. It appears as raised red patches with a silver to white buildup of dead skin cells on top.  It looks something like this:

Guttate psoriasis appears as small dot like lesions on the skin.  This form usually starts in childhood, and is the second most common form of the disorder.  Here is an example:

Very red patches that appear in body folds, such as armpits, back of the knee, or groin might be a form of psoriasis known as inverse psoriasis.  Sometimes people have this form of psoriasis along with another form at the same time.

Pustular psoriasis features white blisters that actually do contain pus, but it is not infectious. The white pus material in the lesions actually consists of white blood cells. It can occur on any part of the body but is most common on hands or feet.

Erythrodermic psoriasis is a particularly severe form of psoriasis that appears as widespread, fiery redness that can cover large areas of the body. It is fairly rare, occurring in less than 3 percent of psoriasis patients during their lifetime.

Psoriasis is no laughing matter.  While the hallmark of the disease is a painful skin condition, it can be associated with other serious health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, and depression.

Psoriasis is a life long condition. The symptoms can be treated/managed, but without proper attention, painful rash is almost always present and complications can occur. In my next post I will focus on management of psoriasis.

Sources: Wikimedia, National Psoriasis Foundation


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