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Psoriasis Australia

About Psoriatic Disease

Psoriatic Disease is the collective term used to describe psoriasis (PsO) and Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) and their associated comorbidities.

What is Psoriasis (PsO)?

Psoriasis is much more than a skin condition it is a complex chronic, noncommunicable, painful, disfiguring and disabling autoimmune disease for which there is currently no cure and has a significant impact on person’s quality of life. 

What is Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA)?

Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) is an inflammatory arthritis associated with psoriasis, that affects joints as well as areas where tendons join to bones. Like many forms of arthritis, psoriatic arthritis can cause stiffness, pain, swelling and damage to the structure of affected joints. It mostly affects the joints in the hands and feet, however, it can also affect larger joints including the hips, knees, and spine.

Who is diagnosed with Psoriatic Disease?

Psoriasis can occur at any point in the lifespan, affecting children, teenagers, adults and older people. There appears to be two ‘peaks’ for when onset occurs; from the late teens to early adulthood, and between the ages of around 50 and 60. It affects males and females equally. 

It may be possible for those diagnosed with psoriatic disease to find out that there is a history of the condition in the family.

What causes Psoriatic Disease?

Researchers have not yet determined the exact cause of psoriatic disease. However, various factors could play a role and include:

  • Genetics – up to a third of people with psoriasis report having a relative with psoriasis. Research also shows that 10% of the population may carry a gene that makes them more likely to develop psoriasis. However, only 2-3% of them will eventually get psoriasis.
  • External Factors – Several external factors could “trigger” psoriasis to develop. Possible triggers include stress, infection (like strep throat), skin injury (cuts, scratches, bug bites, sunburn) and medication (including lithium, indomethacin, quinidine). These factors vary from person to person, so something that causes your psoriasis in one person may leave someone else unaffected.
  • Immune System – Psoriasis appears to be closely related to how our immune system works. Normally, it takes 28 to 30 days for our bodies to develop new skin cells and shed the old. When you have psoriasis however, your immune system becomes overactive. It then produces new skin cells extremely fast, in less than 7 days. This means that your old skin cells pile up on top of each other. The result are the symptoms of psoriasis: inflamed skin, thick red patches and a constant flaking of old skin cells.
Discovering what causes psoriatic disease could vastly improve treatment or even help to find a cure one day.

Is Psoriatic Disease contagious?

No, psoriatic disease is not contagious. Because you cannot catch psoriatic disease from someone else, there is no need at all to avoid people with psoriatic disease – you can hug them, hang out with them, go swimming, borrow each other’s clothes, hold their hand, have fun together, … just like with anyone else!