Nail Psoriasis Facts
Psoriasis is a common chronic skin condition. A person with psoriasis typically has patches of raised, red skin with silvery scales. The affected skin may look shiny and red or even have pustules, depending on the type of psoriasis. These skin changes usually occur on the elbows, knees, scalp, and trunk. In the United States, over 3% of people have psoriasis. Psoriasis can also affect the fingernails and toenails, causing pitting, thickening, and irregular contour of the nail.
Most people with psoriasis of the nails also have skin psoriasis (cutaneous psoriasis). Only 5% of people with psoriasis of the nails do not have skin psoriasis. In those with skin psoriasis, 10%-55% have psoriasis of the nails (also called psoriatic nail disease), but it has been estimated that up to 80% of people with psoriasis will have nail involvement at some point in their lifetime. About 10%-20% of people who have skin psoriasis also have psoriatic arthritis, a specific condition in which people have symptoms of both arthritis and psoriasis. Of people with psoriatic arthritis, 53%-86% have affected nails, often with pitting.
If psoriasis of the nails is severe and is not treated, it can lead to functional and social problems.
What Are Nail Psoriasis Causes and Risk Factors?
Psoriasis is not contagious. How psoriasis of the nails develops is not completely known. It appears to result from a combination of genetic (inherited), immunologic, and environmental factors.
Psoriasis tends to run in families. About 40% of people with psoriasis have a first-degree relative who is known to have the condition. If both parents have psoriasis, a person's risk is up to 75%. Males and females are equally likely to have psoriasis. Psoriasis can occur in people of all races.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/4/2016
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