Plaque Psoriasis Overview
There is now no question that psoriasis is an inherited systemic inflammatory disease of immune dysfunction whose most obvious clinical feature is plaque of elevated, inflamed skin. Plaques are scaly, red, bumpy areas of skin that are often itchy. They characteristically are found on the scalp, elbows, and knees. Plaque psoriasis is relatively common; about 2%-3% of population of the United States is affected.
Plaque Psoriasis Causes and Risk Factors
Like many other diseases, there is a significant interplay of genetic and environmental factors. Certain mutations pave the way for the development of the disease. It seems likely that more than one mutation in more than one gene is necessary to develop psoriasis. Once the genes are inherited, some sort of environmental factor is necessary to activate it. Such a factor could be a common viral or bacterial infection or even a simple injury.
Plaque Psoriasis Symptoms and Signs
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The characteristic cutaneous finding in psoriasis is a small scaly, red bump. These bumps generally join together into elevated plaques of skin and most often are visible on the elbows, knees, and scalp, although any area of skin can be involved. Frequently, these plaques are quite itchy. Rarely, most of the skin surface is affected.
When to Seek Medical Care
It is prudent to see a physician to confirm the diagnosis of psoriasis when the disease begins. The physician can provide helpful suggestions on how to minimize exacerbations of the condition and treatment options. In minimal disease, over-the-counter medications may be sufficient to control the condition. In more severe, extensive, and perhaps debilitating disease, physicians have a variety of treatments that can lessen the manifestations of psoriasis.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/9/2014
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