What is psoriasis?
The name psoriasis is from the Greek word psora, which means “itch”. Psoriasis is the most common autoimmune disease (a condition in which the body turns against itself). It affects 2.2 percent of adults, and about 80% of people with psoriasis have the most common type called plaque psoriasis, in which red, scaly lesions appear on the skin.
Sometimes the lesions appear on the elbows and knees, but they can also affect fingernails and toenails. In some cases, the lesions only spread to the entire body.
Symptoms of psoriasis
It’s a skin disease that results in red, flaky exfoliating patches on the skin, which typically appear on the elbows, knees, scalp, lower back, and torso. It is not contagious, however it is very uncomfortable and even embarrassing when it covers a large surface of the skin, especially when accompanied by an extensive rash. As a person with psoriasis, you should also know that your skin is prone to being flaky and red. It can look unsightly, and when inflamed can be painful. Luckily, there are numerous treatments that can help you manage your psoriasis, and some of them can also cause a reduction in the redness and flaking due to psoriasis.
What Causes Psoriasis?
Regardless of the reason for having psoriasis, it makes for a chronic skin condition in which patches of red and scaly skin appear on the body. It is often referred to as a disease of the immune system because it is a manifestation of an over-reaction of the immune system. It is the body’s natural system designed to defend itself by combating infections and disease. In the context of human immunology, we normally think about the immune system as protecting us from diseases introduced by infectious bacteria and viruses, especially bacterial infections.
During psoriasis, the body’s immune system attacks skin cells, which results in them growing quickly and shedding like they would during wound healing, which produces the apparent red, scaly patches on the skin surface.
How do Dermatologists diagnose Psoriasis?
By examining the scalp and skin surface of patients, dermatologists can assess the type and extent of their psoriasis based on examining all symptoms and conditions. It is usually possible for the dermatologist to spot the symptoms of psoriasis through skin examination. If the dermatologist finds the individual as having the disorder, he or she is usually advised by the dermatologist to start a treatment plan.
Is Psoriasis Contagious?
While psoriasis can be a very distressing condition, you can take comfort in the fact that it is not contagious. Psoriasis is a skin condition that can occur as a result of a number of factors, including genetics, stress, hormones, and long-term sun exposure. (Affecting up to 7.5 million people in the US alone, psoriasis may be the most common autoimmune disorder in the country.) Even though psoriasis is not contagious, it still affects the people who have it, and can cause uncomfortable symptoms such as red, flaky skin, and itching.