Psoriasis is the most common auto immune disease and affects up to 7.5 million Americas. Although scientists continue to focus on a cure the exact causes of this auto immune disease remains a bit of a mystery “Scientists believe that at least 10 percent of people inherit one or more of the genes that could eventually lead to psoriasis. However, only 2 percent to 3 percent of the population develops the disease.” In addition to genetic factors, Scientists believe, environmental “triggers” play a pivotal role in developing Psoriasis. These triggers include skin injuries, medications and stress. This non-contagious disease typically first appears between the ages of 15 to 35. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation there are 5 different types of Psoriasis. Plaque Psoriasis, the most common form of the illness. Psoriasis is a chronic disease caused by the over production of new skin cells and their quick arrival to the surface of the skin, a process that ought to take a month. The body does not rid itself of these new skin cells, so the new skin cells pile up. These new skin cells create a plaque on the skin – “itchy or sore patches of thick, red skin with silvery scales”. Psoriasis often appears on elbows, knees, back, face, palms, feet and the scalp. Psoriasis can appear on other areas of the body and also can impact joints – a condition known as psoriatic arthritis. According to Abby Van Voorhees, MD. Internationally renowned expert in Psoriasis and newly appointed EVMS Chair of Dermatology, “somewhere between 25% and 40%” people who have Psoriasis develop Psoriatic Arthritis. There is currently no known cure for Psoriasis or Psoriatic Arthritis, treatments however, are available and range from stress management and Phototherapy to topical creams.
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This blog is about consumer health topics of interest to the general public and a vehicle to promote the Edward E. Brickell Medical Sciences Library and library outreach events.
Ruth M. Smith, MLIS