Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease which results in red, scaly skin that typically affects localised areas of the body, scalp and nails. It is a common and treatable skin condition.
Who does it affect?
Psoriasis affects about 2% of the population. It presents in both children and adults and it can start at any age. Psoriasis is a condition which can run in families.
What are the symptoms?
Psoriasis is characterised by clearly defined, red and scaly plaques (thickened skin). It often affects elbows and knees however other parts of the body can be affected, including the scalp and fingernails. For some people, psoriasis can be an upsetting condition that affects their lifestyle and can be a source of social anxiety.
What causes it?
While research on the causes of psoriasis is still ongoing, we know that the immune system is mistakenly activated and leads to overproduction of skin cells. This results in raised, red, scaly patches with varying degrees of itchiness and pain. It is quite common to see psoriasis flare up when people are under stress.
How is it treated?
The majority of patients respond favourably to the right treatment. Psoriasis treatments aim to disrupt the cycle that causes an increased production of skin cells. Treatments aim to remove scales and smooth the skin. The options available to control psoriasis depend on the type and location of the inflammation. Some of the therapies our dermatologists may discuss with you include creams, phototherapy, tablets and injectable medications.
Psoriasis can fluctuate over a lifetime, and while it responds very well to treatment there is currently no known cure. The new biologic medications have made a vast difference to treatment outcomes for patients and are now commonly used, particularly for the more severe forms of psoriasis.
You can read more about psoriasis on these websites.
Australasian College of Dermatologists:
Psoriasis Australia: (http://psoriasisaustralia.org.au)