The next topic in our “10 Things to Know About” series is Psoriasis!
Quick Note: psoriasis is pronounced “sore-EYE-ah-sis”
1. About 7.5 million people in the US have psoriasis
2. Psoriasis occurs when someone’s immune system tells the skin cells to grow too quickly, but does not shed the excess skin cells. The skin cells then accumulate and build up, which in turn becomes patches or psoriasis.
3. There are 5 types of psoriasis (not including psoriatic arthritis). The most common form is plaque psoriasis (approx. 80% of people with psoriasis have this type), which looks like raised, red patches covered with a silvery white coating.
4. Psoriasis may happen at any age, but it is most common in people aged 15-30. Out of all patients with psoriasis, about 75% had it by age 40.
5. Psoriasis is not contagious. The only way to get psoriasis is to inherit certain mix of genes and be exposed to a trigger. Common triggers are stressful events, strep throat, certain medications, cold & dry weather, cuts or scratches or a bad sunburn.
6. Psoriatic Arthritis is a form of arthritis that affects about 10-30% of people with psoriasis. Most people with this condition get it 5-12 years after they first get psoriasis.
7. UV exposure can help psoriasis, but this therapy should ONLY be done under the careful supervision of a physician because tanning & sunburn can make psoriasis worse and to reduce the risk of skin cancer. Do NOT use tanning beds to “help” your psoriasis.
8. The two main active ingredients in OTC topical medications are salicylic acid and coal tar.
9. Cooling lotions & moisturizers in the fridge prior to use may help relieve itching. Oatmeal baths & anti-itch creams also help.
10. Food has not been scientifically proven to have an effect on psoriasis, but many patients and studies seem to indicate a correlation between nutrition and the severity of psoriasis. Try to eat a healthy diet and keep control of your weight. Some research suggests that psoriasis and celiac disease because both involve inflammatory immune responses, so you may wish to experiment with a gluten-free diet (not ALL patients noted a difference, but it may be worth a short-term experiment).
For More Information on Psoriasis:
PsoriasisNet by the AAD http://www.skincarephysicians.com/psoriasisnet/index.html
AAD – Psoriatic Arthritis http://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/diseases-and-treatments/m---p/psoriatic-arthritis
National Psoriasis Foundation https://www.psoriasis.org/