What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a chronic, noncommunicable, painful, disfiguring and disabling autoimmune disease for which there is no cure and has a significant impact of a persons quality of life.
The disease changes the life cycle of skin cells causing cells to build up rapidly on the surface of the skin, resulting in thick silvery scales and dry, itchy, red patches (plaques) that are often painful.
Psoriasis can occur on any part of the body, including the scalp, hands, feet, finger or toes nails, and genitals.
Who gets Psoriasis?
It is estimated that between 2.3% and 6.6% of Australians are living with some form of Psoriasis.
It can develop in both men and women and can occur at any point in a persons life span.
What causes Psoriasis?
The cause of Psoriasis is net yet fully known or understood. It is considered to develop due to immune, genetic and environmental factors.
Recent research has indicated that the rapid growth of skin cells is a result an overactive immune system. This causes immune cells to constantly act as though they are fighting an infection or healing a wound causing the skin cells to grow every couple of days rather than the usually 21-28 day cycle.
Although genetics are known to be a contributing factor, not everyone with a family history of Psoriasis will develop Psoriasis. This means that environmental triggers, such as stress, infections, smoking or alcohol, may play a role in the initial development of the disease.
What are Psoriasis symptoms?
Symptoms of Psoriasis are different for each person and can range from mild to severe.
The most common symptoms are:
- Areas of the skin that are dry or red, that have silvery-white scales
- Rashes on the scalp, genitals, or in the skin folds
- Itching and skin pain
- Joint pain, swelling, or stiffness
- Nail abnormalities, such as pitted, discolored or crumbly nails
Is Psoriasis contagious?
Psoriasis is not contagious and cannot be passed be passed from one person to another, or through touching the psoriatic skin.
Is there a cure for Psoriasis?
There is currently no cure for Psoriasis, although there are many treatment options available that can reduce the inflammation and symptoms of the disease.