Psoriasis

Alternative Names

Plaque psoriasis

Definition of Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a common skin condition that causes skin redness and irritation. Most persons with psoriasis have thick, red skin with flaky, silver-white patches called scales.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Psoriasis is a very common condition. The disorder may affect people of any age, but it most commonly begins between ages 15 and 35. It can appear suddenly or slowly. In many cases, psoriasis goes away and then flares up again repeatedly over time. The condition cannot be spread to others.

Symptoms

Persons with psoriasis have irritated patches of skin. The redness is most often seen on the elbows, knees, and trunk, but can appear anywhere on the body. For example, there may be flaky patches on the scalp.

Signs and tests

Your doctor will look at your skin. Diagnosis is usually based on what the skin looks like.

Treatment

The goal of treatment is to control your symptoms and prevent infections.

Expectations (prognosis)

Psoriasis is a life-long condition that can be controlled with treatment. It may go away for a long time and then return. With appropriate treatment, it usually does not affect your general physical health.

Review

Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 12/11/2009

Psoriasis on the knuckles

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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