Psoriasis is a common skin condition that causes skin redness and irritation. Most people with psoriasis have thick, red skin with flaky, silver-white patches called scales.
See also: Guttate psoriasis
Psoriasis is a very common condition. The disorder may affect people of any age, but it most commonly begins between ages 15 and 35.
The condition cannot be spread to others.
Psoriasis seems to be passed down through families. Doctors think it probably occurs when the body's immune system mistakes healthy cells for dangerous substances. See also: Inflammatory response
Skin cells grow deep in the skin and normally rise to the surface about once a month. In persons with psoriasis, this process is too fast (about 2 weeks instead of 4 weeks) and dead skin cells build up on the skin's surface.
The following may trigger an attack of psoriasis or make the condition more difficult to treat:
In general, psoriasis may be severe in people who have a weakened immune system. This may include persons who have:
Up to one-third of people with psoriasis may also have arthritis, a condition known as psoriatic arthritis.
Gottlieb A, Korman NJ, Gordon KB, Feldman SR, Lebwohl M, Koo JY, et al. Guidelines for the management of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Section 2. Psoriatic arthritis: overview and guidelines of care for treatment with an emphasis on biologics. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2008;58:851-864.
Menter A, Korman NJ, Elmets Ca, Feldman SR, Gelfand JM, Gordon KB, et al. American Academy of Dermatology guidelines of care for the management of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Section 3. Guidelines of care for the management and treatment of psoriasis with topical therapies. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2009;60:643-659.
Menter A, Gottlieb A, Feldman SR, Voorhees ASV, Leonardi CL, Gordon KB, et al. Guidelines for the management of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Section 1. Overview of psoriasis and guidelines of care for the treatment of psoriasis with biologics. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2008;5:826-850.
Stern RS. Psoralen and ultraviolet a light therapy for psoriasis. N Engl J Med. 2007;357(7):682-690.
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