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A chronic skin problem that causes skin cells to grow quickly, resulting in thick, white, silvery or red patches of skin is called psoriasis. Skin cells usually grow gradually and flake off every 4 weeks and new skin cells grow to replace the outer skin layer as they shed. What happens with psoriasis patients is that, the skin cells move rapidly to the surface of the skin. It takes only 4-10 days. They develop and form plaque (a kind of thick patches, pronounced as "plax").

The size of the plaque may differ. Mostly, these plaques can be seen on the elbows, knees, feet, scalp, hand or lower back. It can be affected at any age. But, it is more common among adults.

Signs & symptoms

The symptoms may differ in people. It can be mild and severe. If it is mild, there will be small areas of rashes. For moderate and severe psoriasis, the skin will get inflamed with raised red areas topped with loose, silvery, scaling skin. The skin will become even more itchy and tender for severe psoriasis. The patches may become larger in certain cases.

As a result of psoriasis infection, the joints may become swollen, painful and red in some people. This condition is called psoriatic arthritis. These kinds of arthritis can also affect the toe nails and fingernails and as a result, the nails may pit or change the color and separate from the nail bed.

Symptoms of psoriasis may often disappear without treatment and flare up again.


It is believed that, psoriasis develops as a result of over reaction of the immune system. It causes inflammation and flaking of skin. Psoriasis can also be hereditary in certain cases. Parents with psoriasis may pass it over to their children. Other conditions that can favor the development of psoriasis infection are:

  • Dry climate
  • Infections
  • Stress
  • Dry skin etc.

Psoriasis is not a contagious disease.

Risks factors

There are certain factors that might worsen the condition of psoriasis. It may include:

  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Climatic changes
  • Use of certain medications
  • Alcohol consumption and
  • Skin injury


Simple physical evaluations will be enough to diagnose psoriasis. The doctor will examine the patches on the skin, scalp and nails. Mostly, no special tests are used for diagnosis of psoriasis. Very rarely, a test called KOH test is used to rule out the fungal infections.


Psoriasis treatments are usually done by dermatologists. Joint disorders and psoriatic arthritis are treated by rheumatologists. Other kinds of physicians also treat psoriasis. Effective treatments are there to cure psoriasis. It may differ according to the severity of the disease, type of the disease, the physician who is treating and the total body area affected.

If it is mild, it requires simple home care such as use of topical creams, sprays and lotions. It will be helpful if you take steroid injection directly into a tough or resistant isolated psoriatic plaque. For moderate and severe conditions, topical creams and items may not be effective. They may require systemic medications or ultraviolet light treatments. Internal medications need to be taken under strict medical supervision. In order to prevent the joint destruction due to psoriatic arthritis, systemic medications are usually used.

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