Psoriasis is a common relapsing/remitting immune system-mediated condition that primarily affects the skin but may affects the joints (which is called psoriatic arthritis). It afflicts about 2-4% of the world's population.[1]

Signs and symptomsEdit

Psoriasis on back

Psoriasis on the back

Its symptoms include:[2]

  • Red scaly lesions found on the scalp, elbows, knees and other parts of the body
  • Mild itchiness
  • Skin shedding

Whereas psoriatic arthritis causes, discomfort, throbbing or swelling in at least one joint.


Its cause is unknown but genes are often at least partly responsible in many cases; about one-third of those afflicted by the condition have at least one first-degree relative (like parent, sibling or child) with the condition.[2][3] Several triggers for flare ups of psoriasis have been identified, including:

  • Smoking (which also speeds up the progression of the condition), although only certain subtypes of the disorder appear sensitive to the effects of smoking
  • Medications including lithium, certain blood pressure medicines (namely beta-blockers), NSAIDs and anti-malaria medications.
  • Skin injury


The major available treatments are creams that are applied to the affected region(s), UV light therapy and lifestyle changes (for example, having shorter and less hot showers, bathing in bath oil/oatmeal).[3] For milder short-lasting cases they can usually be treated with over-the-counter creams, lifestyle changes, along with removing any possible triggers but moderate-severe or persistent cases require a physician's care. In these cases stronger creams may be used, although if the psorasis is severe or disabling enough immune system-suppressing (many are chemotherapy drugs like methotrexate) drugs taken by mouth might be required.[3]


It can be disabling, but treatment can usually manage the symptoms. The disease is also associated with an increased risk of various comorbidities (that is, conditions that co-occur in people afflicted by psoriasis) including:[4]

  • Heart disease
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • High blood pressure
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Cancer
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Anxiety/depression

External linksEdit

Reference listEdit

  1. Fotiadou, C; Lazaridou, E; Ioannides, D (2014). "Management of psoriasis in adolescence.". Adolescent Health, Medicine and Therapeutics 5: 25–34. PMC 3961070. PMID 24729738. doi:10.2147/AHMT.S36672. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Clarke, P (July 2011). "Psoriasis." (PDF). Australian Family Physician 40 (7): 468–73. PMID 21743850. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Weigle, N; McBane, S (May 2013). "Psoriasis.". American Family Physician 87 (9): 626–33. PMID 23668525. 
  4. Ni, C; Chiu, MW (2014). "Psoriasis and comorbidities: links and risks.". Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology 7: 119–32. PMC 4000177. PMID 24790463. doi:10.2147/CCID.S44843. 

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