Psoriasis is a persistent, inflammatory skin condition. Some cases of psoriasis are so mild that people don't know they have it. Alternatively, severe psoriasis may cover large areas of the body. Psoriasis is not contagious, so it cannot be passed from one person to another. Psoriasis does, however, have a tendency to run in families, meaning it can be an inherited condition.
While the exact cause is unknown, research indicates that the immune system plays a key role. It is believed that the person's immune system mistakenly activates T cells, a type of white blood cell. Once activated, the T cells trigger inflammation, which causes the skin to grow too rapidly. Normally, the skin replaces itself about every 30 days. When the process speeds up and the skin replaces itself in three to four days, psoriasis develops.
A "trigger" is usually needed to make psoriasis appear, whether for the first time or the twentieth. Psoriasis can be triggered by stress; an infection, such as strep throat; and by taking certain medicines, such as interferon and lithium. Cold, dry winter weather and lack of sunlight also can trigger psoriasis. Others see psoriasis flare 10 to 14 days after their skin is injured, such as by a cut, scratch, or severe sunburn. This is known as Koebner's phenomenon.
There are 5 major types of psoriasis, each with unique signs and symptoms. Dr. Ghatan and her associates will develop a treatment plan for you, after evaluating your psoriasis and determining what will be the most effective treatment. While psoriasis cannot be cured, a number of treatment options can help control psoriasis.
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