Psoriasis is a very common chronic skin condition in which skin cells build up on the body, and form scaly, itchy, dry, red, patches. The symptoms can appear anywhere on the body, including the nails and scalp. The most common areas where you may have flare ups are the knees, elbows, and scalp. The build-up of skin cells is due to the skin cells multiplying 10 times faster than normal. Psoriasis can also be associated with psoriatic arthritis, which causes pain in the joints due to swelling.
Psoriasis is thought to be an immune system problem with T cells and other white blood cells in your body. It is very unpredictable and irritating. It is also one of the most persistent skin disorders. Triggers can include infections, stress, cold temperatures, and certain medications. Recent research indicates that some abnormality in the immune system is the key cause of psoriasis. However, psoriasis can also be hereditary, but it can also skip generations.
While psoriasis cannot be cured, it can be controlled. It can be difficult and frustrating to deal with flare ups, but many medications can make it more manageable.
Prescribed topical creams can help to exfoliate the build-up of skin cells and plaques. Steroid creams can help decrease inflammation, relieve itching, and block the overproduction of skin cells. Tar shampoos and ointments can be used to help slow the cell growth.
Light therapy can also be used in the treatment of psoriasis.
Oral medications are sometimes prescribed for persistent psoriasis.
Newer treatments include “biologic” drugs, which are made from human or animal proteins, and work to control or modulate the body’s immune response.
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