Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease which is caused by inflammation. It appears as thick, silvery flakes or scales on pinkish red skin, usually on the elbows, knees, back or scalp. Psoriasis also involves the nails, causing small pits to form in the nail plates, nail discolouration, thickening of the nails or lifting of the nails from the nailbed. Some patients may also develop pain and swelling of the joints, known as psoriatic arthritis, and this may even lead to permanent joint damage. Psoriasis can occur at any age, but most commonly starts in the 20’s to 30’s, and also in the 50’s to 60’s.
There are many forms of treatment for psoriasis, depending on the severity. This can include topical creams, ointments or scalp solutions. Occasionally in more severe forms, oral medications may be prescribed. Patients with psoriasis should be cared for by a dermatologist, as these medications may have serious side effects.
It is important to note that psoriasis is not contagious or infectious, and although it is not curable, it can be controlled with appropriate management.