Did you know there are more than 125 million people with psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis all over the world? Psoriasis is a common inflammatory disease, caused by abnormal T-lymphocyte function, most often characterized by raised, red, scaly patches. These patches or plaques are usually found on the elbows, knees and scalp but may appear on any part of the skin. Joints and nails can be affected as well. This happens because skin cells in people with psoriasis grow at an abnormally fast rate which causes a buildup of the psoriasis lesions; these lesions are NOT infectious or contagious but may frequently itch or burn.
Psoriasis most often develops between the ages of 15 and 35, effects men and women at equal rates and occurs in all racial groups. Psoriasis is also known to have a strong genetic link, often running in families. Many psoriasis patients often develop arthritic symptoms as well. This can lead to permanent bone changes when they occur. Nails may also be affected, leading to pitting of the fingernails.
Although psoriasis may be stressful and embarrassing, it can also be painful and limit your activities. With appropriate treatment, symptoms generally subside within a few months. If you think you have psoriasis, or especially, if you already have arthritic pains related to your psoriasis, make an appointment to see Dr. Baker to see what treatment options are available. In addition to the topical creams of the past, advances have led to new pills and injections that may eliminate many of your psoriasis symptoms.