What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a disorder/disease caused by an overactive immune system response. With psoriasis, skin cells mature quicker than normal but shed at a normal rate. This causes a build up of dead skin cells that form lesions. The lesions are usually red and crusty.

Symptoms include itchiness, red spots, scales and blisters. Psoriasis can be “set off” by stress, medications, infection or weather changes, for example.

Who is at risk of developing psoriasis?

There is a genetic link: If one parent has psoriasis, offspring have a 10% chance of developing it, 50% if both parents are affected.

Caucasians are affected more than African Americans. It’s uncommon in Asians and Native Americans.

Men and women are equally at risk with 75% of cases developing before age 40.

If I have psoriasis, how do I deal with it?

  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  • Eat a healthy diet and get adequate sleep.
  • Manage stress.
  • Never pick or scratch lesions.
  • Use menthol-based ointment to minimize itching.
  • Apply a cold compress for inflammation.
  • Soak in a warm oatmeal bath.
  • Use moisturizers regularly.
  • Avoid harsh soaps.
  • Take warm – not hot – showers and baths.

What treatment options might my doctor prescribe?

There are many treatment options your doctor may prescribe, both singly and in combination. Your options will depend on the location and severity of the disease, your prior response to treatment, the treatment’s impact on your quality of life and your age/gender/medical history.

Options include:
– prescription topicals
– laser therapy
– phototherapy
– oral/systemic/injectable medications