Font Size
A
A
A
1
...

Psoriasis

Psoriasis Overview

Psoriasis is a common and chronic incurable but treatable skin disorder. Plaque psoriasis is the most common form and appears as elevated plaques of red skin covered with silvery scale that may itch or burn. The involved areas are usually found on the arms, legs, trunk, or scalp but may be found on any part of the skin. The most typical areas are the knees and elbows.


Plaque psoriasis on the elbow. Image courtesy of Hon Pak, MD.


Plaque psoriasis on the back. Image courtesy of Hon Pak, MD.

Psoriasis is not contagious but can be inherited. Research indicates that the disease may result from a disorder in the immune system (See Causes).

Factors such as smoking, sunburn, alcoholism, and HIV infection may prolong the severity and extent of the condition.

Approximately 1%-2% of people in the United States, or about 5.5 million, have plaque psoriasis. Up to 30% of people with plaque psoriasis also have psoriatic arthritis. Individuals with psoriatic arthritis have inflammation in their joints and may have other arthritic symptoms. Sometimes plaque psoriasis can evolve into more inflammatory disease, such as pustular psoriasis or erythrodermic psoriasis. In pustular psoriasis, the red areas on the skin contain small blisters filled with pus. In erythrodermic psoriasis, extensive areas of red and scaling skin are typical.


Pustular psoriasis. Image courtesy of Hon Pak, MD.

Psoriasis affects children and adults. Men and woman are affected equally. Females develop plaque psoriasis earlier in life than males. The first peak occurrence of plaque psoriasis is in people 16-22 years of age. The second peak is in people 57-60 years of age.

Psoriasis can affect all races. Studies have shown that more people in western European and Scandinavian populations have psoriasis than those in other population groups.

Next Page:
1
...

Must Read Articles Related to Psoriasis

Guttate Psoriasis
Guttate Psoriasis Guttate psoriasis is a type of psoriasis that looks like small, salmon-pink drops on the skin. The word guttate is derived from the Latin word gutta, meaning dr...learn more >>
Iritis
Iritis The iris is a circular, pigmented membrane that provides the eye its color and forms the pupil of the eye. The iris is made up of muscular fibers that control ...learn more >>
Nail Psoriasis
Nail Psoriasis Psoriasis is a common condition. A person with psoriasis generally has patches of raised red skin with silvery scales. The affected skin may look shiny and red ...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Psoriasis:

Psoriasis - Effective Treatments

What kinds of treatments have been effective for your psoriasis?

Psoriasis - Symptoms

What were the symptoms of your psoriasis?

Psoriasis - Causes

What caused your psoriasis?





Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Psoriasis »

Psoriasis is a chronic, noncontagious, multisystem, inflammatory disorder.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


Medical Dictionary