Psoriasis – Causes | Pediatric Oncall
PSORIASIS
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Last Updated : 8/1/2015
Jagdish Kathwate
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What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis a skin condition that causes red, flaky, crusty patches of skin covered with silvery scales.These patches normally appear on your elbows, knees, scalp and lower back but can appear anywhere on your body. Most people are only affected in small patches. In some cases, the patches can be itchy or sore. It can start at any age, but most often develops in adults under 35 years old. The condition affects men and women equally.The severity of psoriasis varies greatly from person to person. For some people, it is just a minor irritation, for others it has a major impact on their quality of life.Psoriasis is a long-lasting (chronic) disease that usually involves periods when you have no symptoms or mild symptoms, followed by periods when symptoms are more severe.

Why does Psoriasis occur?
Psoriasis occurs when the process by which the body produces skin cells is accelerated. Skin cells are normally made and replaced every three to four months, but in psoriasis this process only lasts about three to seven days. The resulting build-up of skin cells is what creates the patches associated with psoriasis.Although the process is not fully understood, it is thought the increased production of skin cells is related to a problem with the immune system. The immune system is your body's defence against disease and infection, but in people with psoriasis it attacks healthy skin cells by mistake.As psoriasis can run in families, there is also thought to be a genetic element to psoriasis. However, the exact role that genetics plays in causing psoriasis is unclear.Many people's psoriasis symptoms start or become worse because of a certain event, known as a trigger. Possible triggers of psoriasis include an injury to your skin, throat infections and using certain medicines.The condition is not contagious so it cannot be spread from person to person.

What is treatment for it?
There is no cure for psoriasis, but a range of treatments can improve symptoms and the appearance of the affected skin patches.In most cases, the first treatment used will be a topical treatment, such as vitamin D analogues or topical corticosteroids. Topical treatments are creams and ointments applied to the skin.If these are ineffective or your condition is more severe, a treatment called phototherapy may be used. Phototherapy involves exposing your skin to certain types of ultraviolet light.In the most severe cases where other treatments are ineffective, systemic treatments may be used. These are oral or injected medicines that work throughout the whole body.



Contributor Information and Disclosures

Jagdish Kathwate
MD Pediatrics. Assistant Professor, Government Medical College, Aurangabad, India.


First Created : 1/25/2001
Last Updated : 8/1/2015

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