6 Things You Should Know About Psoriasis (But Maybe Have Never Asked Your Doctor)


If you have psoriasis, chances are you’ve been asked a lot of questions about the disease. Maybe it was when your best friend noticed that red rash on your scalp or when a stranger asked why you were covered in scales. Or maybe it was when a family member wanted to know what they could do to help.

Psoriasis is an incredibly common—and highly visible—chronic inflammatory disease that affects an estimated 7.5 million Americans, so it’s no wonder that people living with psoriasis are often quizzed about its symptoms and possible treatments. But there’s actually a lot more to know about this condition than people realize, and most of the time, we’re too embarrassed to ask our doctors for answers.

Here, we shed light on six things that many people with psoriasis want to know but may never ask their doctors.

1. Is There a Cure?

There is no cure for psoriasis. However, there are treatments available today that can greatly reduce symptoms and even clear up the disease in some cases. “Treatments for psoriasis are always improving,” says Dr. Dattner. “We now have many more options than we did

“Psoriasis is a chronic disease that shows up as thick, red, scaly patches on the skin,” says Jennifer M. Soung, MD, MPH, a board-certified dermatologist at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Continuing Education. “The scales are actually areas of inflammation and buildup of skin cells.”

In other words: The first thing you should know about psoriasis is that it’s not contagious. “It’s not something that someone can catch,” says Dr. Soung. “It’s an inflammatory condition.”

The second thing to know is that there are different types of psoriasis. In addition to plaque psoriasis (which produces the plaques described above), there’s also guttate psoriasis, which causes small drop-like lesions; inverse psoriasis (found in skin creases); pustular psoriasis (which produces pus-filled blisters); erythrodermic psoriasis (the most severe form, which causes widespread reddening and scaling); and scalp psoriasis (which appears as raised scaly patches).

If you have psoriasis, chances are you’ve got a lot of questions. You may be wondering what psoriasis is, how it’s treated and if there’s a cure. But did you know that the latest treatment for psoriasis could be called a lotion? Or that up to 40% of people with psoriasis may also have arthritis?

We asked dermatologist Dr. Alan Menter, who serves as chairman of the Department of Dermatology at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, to answer some of the questions he hears most often from patients. Here are his answers to six common questions.

1. What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a non-contagious skin condition caused by an overactive immune system. It results in a faster-than-normal growth cycle for skin cells and causes new skin cells to form too rapidly and build up on the surface of the skin. Psoriasis can develop anywhere on the body, but often occurs on the scalp, knees, elbows and torso.

2. Why do I have it?

Although we don’t know why some people get psoriasis, we do know that it is not contagious or caused by poor hygiene. And while it does run in families

We all have it, but we don’t all know about it: psoriasis, a common skin condition that affects nearly 8 million Americans, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. A chronic and often genetic disease of the immune system, psoriasis causes skin cells to multiply rapidly on the surface of your skin. As old cells die, they push up new ones to replace them. This clumping of cells causes plaques to form on the surface of the skin and can lead to itching, pain and scaling.

There are several types of psoriasis: plaque (the most common type), guttate (small red spots), inverse (red and bright areas that appear in folds such as under an armpit or behind a knee), erythrodermic (all over redness) and pustular (pus-filled bumps). Symptoms vary per type, but you should see your dermatologist if you suspect you might have any form of psoriasis.

What do you need to know?

Psoriasis is not contagious. It is not spread by touching someone or shaking hands with someone who has it or even kissing someone who has it. “It’s an autoimmune disorder where certain white blood cells get

Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease that affects up to 7.5 million Americans. It has been misunderstood for centuries, often being confused with other skin conditions. If you have psoriasis, chances are you’ve had some misconceptions about your condition, too. Here are six things that may surprise you:

1.) Psoriasis is not contagious. You cannot catch it from someone else or give it to someone else by touching them. People get psoriasis when they inherit genes that make them susceptible to the disease; something (like an infection or injury) then triggers their immune system and causes new skin cells to grow too quickly, resulting in a thick buildup of plaques on the skin’s surface.

2.) Psoriasis isn’t just a “skin problem.” While you may think only of the red, scaly patches on your skin when you hear the word psoriasis, this disease can affect more than just your appearance – it can also affect your joints as well as your overall health. Some patients with psoriasis can develop a form of arthritis called psoriatic arthritis, which causes pain and stiffness in the joints and tendons. Psoriasis can also affect your quality of life and emotional health. Research shows people with severe psoriasis

It’s no secret that celebrities are often plagued by psoriasis, a chronic and sometimes painful skin condition. But even though the disorder affects 7.5 million people in the United States alone, psoriasis is still a virtual unknown to many Americans.

To help you sort through the facts and the myths, we asked Dr. Kenneth Gordon, chairman of dermatology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, to weigh in on the topic.

● It’s not contagious: “Psoriasis results from an overproduction of skin cells by the immune system,” says Gordon. Because of this, “it’s a common misconception that psoriasis is contagious,” he explains. In truth, “it can’t be spread by touch.”

● There is no cure: While there are many effective treatments for psoriasis — including topical creams, oral medications and light therapy — “you can’t get rid of it,” says Gordon.

● It comes in different forms: Psoriasis can range from mild cases with small patches to severe cases with large patches covering large parts of the body, says Gordon. It can also be characterized as plaque (the most common form), guttate, pustular or erythrodermic

1. Psoriasis is more than just skin deep.

Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease that not only affects your skin, but also your joints, nails, and mucous membranes. It is estimated that up to 30% of people with psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis. If you experience swelling in your knees or other joints, or have problems with joint movement, be sure to see your doctor.

2. Psoriasis may increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes and other serious health conditions.

According to the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF), people with severe psoriasis are nearly twice as likely to develop heart disease as those without psoriasis. Other research suggests that people with psoriasis may be at greater risk for developing diabetes and high blood pressure. If you have psoriasis and notice any symptoms of these conditions such as shortness of breath, chest pain or changes in your vision, see your doctor right away.”


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