Psoriasis can be controlled

January 2023

If you’re of a certain age, you probably remember a commercial that addressed “the heartbreak of psoriasis.” Some people got a laugh out of them, but for those who suffer from this disease, psoriasis is no laughing matter.

The immune system and genetics play significant roles in the development of psoriasis, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation (psoriasis.org). It’s not contagious, and the lesions are not infectious. About one-third of those diagnosed with psoriasis have a family member with the disease.

Typically, the scalp, elbows and knees develop raised, red, itchy, scaly patches, although they can appear on other parts of the body. In those with psoriasis, the skin cells develop at a much faster rate, resulting in lesions and scaling.

More than 8 million Americans have this condition, with most seeing the first signs between the ages of 15 and 35. Most people who develop the disease have plaque psoriasis, the kind where silver-white patches of flaky skin appear on elbows, knees and the scalp.

What triggers a flare-up of psoriasis? The causes can vary from person to person. They can include stress, certain medications, injury to the skin or infections. People often seem to have more trouble with psoriasis during the winter.

There is no “cure” for psoriasis, but there are several treatments available to significantly reduce the itching, pain and appearance of the patches. Depending on the severity of your psoriasis, they range from topicals and phototherapy to systemics, biologics and oral treatments.

In addition, keeping the skin moisturized, reducing stress, exercising (a great stress reducer), and using over-the-counter products to reduce itching can help.

Work with your doctor to determine the best treatment for your symptoms.


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