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Psoriasis

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is very common. Anyone can get it, but it most commonly begins between ages 15 and 35. You cannot catch psoriasis or spread it to others.

Psoriasis seems to be passed down through families. Doctors think it may be an autoimmune condition. This occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissue. Usually, skin cells grow deep in the skin and rise to the surface about once a month. When you have psoriasis, this process takes place too fast. Dead skin cells build up on the skin's surface.

The following may trigger an attack of psoriasis or make the condition harder to treat:

  • Bacteria or viral infections, including strep throat and upper respiratory infections
  • Dry air or dry skin Injury to the skin, including cuts, burns, and insect bites
  • Some medicines, including anti-malaria drugs, beta-blockers, and lithium
  • Stress
  • Too little sunlight
  • Too much sunlight (sunburn)
  • Too much alcohol

Symptoms

Psoriasis can appear suddenly or slowly. Many times, it goes away and then comes back. The main symptom of the condition is irritated, red, flaky patches of skin. Patches are most often seen on the elbows, knees, and middle of the body, but can appear anywhere including the scalp.

The skin may be:

  • Itchy
  • Dry and covered with silver, flaky skin (scales)
  • Pink-red in color (like the color of salmon)
  • Raised and thick

Other symptoms may include:

  • Joint pain or aching
  • Nail changes, including thick nails, yellow-brown nails, dents in the nail, and nail lifts off from the skin underneath
  • Severe dandruff on the scalp

Reference - http://www.nih.gov


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