Psoriasis: Treatment and Management

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder of the skin, which means that the body’s defense system has turned on itself. This causes “angry red lesions to appear on the surface of the skin, multiply, and scale over with silvery patches” (1). Not only do they look hideous, but cause terrible itching and discomfort. “The word (psoriasis) comes from ancient Greece, and means ‘to itch'” (1). This disease can be present from birth or not show up until a person is well into their adult years. They can also be found anywhere on the body, from the scalp to the elbows. Psoriasis affects about two percent of the population. The severity can range from a few spots to massive outbreaks covering the whole body, requiring hospitalization.

Although the disease is genetically inherited, “it has triggers which can cause the body to go from a very mild case to a severe case within days” (1). Strep throat and spicy foods are examples of triggers that increase the severity. “There are also other factors, such as sunlight, which help decrease the severity” (1). There are many types of psoriasis including, nail, scalp, plaque, pustular, guttate, inverse, erythrodermic, and psoriatic arthritis. Plaque psoriasis is the most common type. Along with these irritating physical side effects are the emotional factors. This disease can cause its’ victims to feel alienated from fellow coworkers and friends. People who have no experience with the disease tend to be distant towards those who do because they think it is contagious. To compensate, sufferers often wear pants and long sleeves to cover their skin, even in summer heat, or avoid a social life altogether. There is no known cure for psoriasis, only the hope to control its’ severity. Each case of psoriasis is different and may require a certain form of treatment or a combination of treatments to obtain relief. Most of those available now work to lessen the redness and itching but tend to be pricey and time-consuming.

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