What Is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a common skin condition that changes the life cycle of skin cells. Psoriasis causes cells to build up rapidly on the surface of the skin. The extra skin cells form thick, silvery scales and itchy, dry, red patches that are sometimes painful. Psoriasis is a persistent, long-lasting (chronic) disease. There may be times when your psoriasis symptoms get better alternating with times your psoriasis worsens.

Symptoms

Signs and symptoms can vary from person to person but may include one or more of the following:

  • Red patches of skin covered with silvery scales
  • Small scaling spots (commonly seen in children)
  • Dry, cracked skin that may bleed
  • Itching, burning or soreness
  • Thickened, pitted or ridged nails
  • Swollen and stiff joints

Psoriasis patches can range from a few spots of dandruff-like scaling to major eruptions that cover large areas. Most types of psoriasis go through cycles, flaring for a few weeks or months, then subsiding for a time or even going into complete remission.

Treatment Options

While there isn’t a cure, psoriasis treatments may offer significant relief. Psoriasis treatments can be divided into three main types: topical treatments, light therapy and systemic medications. The aim of treatment is to:

  • Stop the skin cells from growing so quickly, which reduces inflammation and plaque formation
  • Remove scales and smooth the skin, which is particularly true of topical treatments that you apply to your skin

We encourage you visit the National Psoriasis Foundation to become more knowledgeable about your condition.  The knowledge of your disorder helps you in understanding the disorder and its treatment.  Each person is different so what applies to one patient may not apply to another. Reading and understanding about your disorder will help you be better prepared to discuss the disorder with your physician and understand the options that are available to help you. These links are not connected to Albuquerque Center for Rheumatology and are offered for your information only.