What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is:

  • Non-contagious
  • Usually inherited
  • Autoimmune disorder
  • Rarely life threatening

Psoriasis is a disease/disorder , where angry red lesions appear on the skin,multiply, and scale over with silvery patches. Of course, this is an over simplification.

Psoriasis -- the word comes from ancient Greece, and means to itch. Red eruptions appear on the surface of the skin and begin to itch. These areas form plaques over the reddened lesions. The plaques resemble multi-layered scales of skin. Psoriasis varies in intensity from a few random spots to a massive outbreak covering the entire body and requiring hospitalization.

Psoriasis has a tendency to be genetically inherited. Recently it has been classified as being an autoimmune disorder (the body's immune system turning on itself). This disorder can originate in juveniles or not be evident until adulthood, It has been reported to initiate as early as birth or not occur until very late in life. Once psoriasis begins, there are only remissions and relapses of varying degrees of intensity. There is no known cure, only possible control over the severity.

Psoriasis reacts. It has triggers (such as a systemic strep infection) which can cause the body to go from a very mild case to a severe case within days. There are also other factors, such as sunlight, which help decrease the severity.

Psoriasis occurs in two percent of the population. It can be a mildly annoying problem or can destroy the self-esteem and life of the victim. Although it is not contagious, it is an ugly disease that can alienate coworkers and acquaintances.

Arthritis can also stem from psoriasis, attacking the joint spaces, giving the psoriasis victim another disease process to deal with. This disease can be consuming. The ugliness of the patches, the chronic itching and flaking, although not life threatening, impact the self-esteem and life style of the psoriasis victim. Time and money are spent trying to keep it under control. Most therapy costs are covered by insurance, but it can be quite expensive.