Psoriasis: A Chronic Disease
Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune skin disorder that affects over 7.5 million patients in the United States and about 125 million people worldwide. It causes red, itchy scaly patches, most commonly on the knees, elbows, trunk and scalp. These lesions affect quality of life for many patients, and tends to go through cycles, flaring for a few weeks or months, then subsiding or going into remission. Treatments are available to help manage symptoms but there is no cure.
Psoriasis signs and symptoms can vary from person to person. Common signs and symptoms include:
- Red patches of skin covered with thick, silvery scales
- Small scaling spots (commonly seen in children)
- Dry, cracked skin that may bleed or itch
- Itching, burning or soreness
- Thickened, pitted or ridged nails
- Swollen and stiff joints
Psoriasis patches can range from a few spots of dandruff-like scaling to major eruptions that cover large areas. The most commonly affected areas are the lower back, elbows, knees, legs, soles of the feet, scalp, face and palms.
Plaque psoriasis is the most common form and causes dry, raised, red skin patches (lesions) covered with silvery scales. The plaques might be itchy or tender, and there may be few or many. They usually appear on elbows, knees, lower back and scalp.