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Scoping Out Psoriasis

3 Things You Should Know About Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an autoimmune skin disease that produces inflamed, raised and red areas of skin or silvery scales. Though the sole cause is uncertain, abnormally fast-growing and shedding skin cells are believed to be a chief factor. Here are three things you should know about this chronic condition.

1. It can happen at any age.

Psoriasis is most likely to begin between the ages of 15 and 35 or between 50 and 69. But while those age ranges are prime for its development, the condition can manifest at any age. No matter how old you are, it might be smart to ask your doctor about psoriasis if you are experiencing any of the possible symptoms.

2. It has many symptoms.

There are a wide range of symptoms you might experience, including:

  • Layers of dead skin cells
  • Extremely dry skin
  • Cracking and bleeding
  • Shiny and red skin
  • Fluid-filled blisters
  • Itching
  • Pain, stinging and irritation

In addition to these external symptoms, complications can arise, such as joint inflammation and pain, muscle weakness, fatigue, fever and chills, rapid pulse, and loss of appetite. Nearly one in three people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis, which is a form of inflammatory arthritis that leads to joint pain. Psoriasis has also been associated with diabetes, heart disease and depression.

3. It’s treatable.

There is no lone cure for psoriasis. However, symptoms and possible complications may be manageable with a variety of treatments:

  • Moisturizing ointments and creams
  • Controlled exposure to sunlight
  • Steroidal and anti-inflammatory medication
  • Anti-cancer drugs that prevent the growth of skin cells
  • Immunosuppressant agents
  • Topical, oral and injectable medications

The National Psoriasis Foundation and the American Academy of Dermatology also offer resources and education regarding treatment and care of psoriasis. The effectiveness of these treatments are predominantly dependent on you and your specific case of psoriasis. You and your physician can work together to find what best works for you and to develop a self-care regimen that prevents psoriasis from defining your health and wellness.