This autoimmune condition is far more common and broad than what we would think, however, it remains relatively stigmatized due to lack of visibility and information regarding its treatments and effects. In simple terms, psoriasis is a skin condition where the life cycle of skin cells is speeded up, causing painful and itchy scales and red patches. Its causes are still unclear, but genetics and environmental aspects can be responsible. In this article, basic aspects and main features will be exposed and properly explained, as well as its most interesting and curious facts.
It depends on patient to patient, but the first outbreaks can happen between ages 15 to 35, and the flare ups appear in cycles; going from very acute symptoms to subsiding for some time, or complete remission. Psoriasis affects around 8 million people in the US alone, and more than 125 million people on a global scale. However, it is not a contagious disease and it cannot be transmitted or “passed on” from having contact with a psoriasis patient. It can appear in members of the same family, though. Psoriatic arthritis is another type of psoriasis that can be developed by 10 to 30% of all psoriasis patients.
The most largely known and studied types of psoriasis are:
Are there any risk factors for psoriasis?
Indeed, there are. If one of your parents has the condition, you are 10% more likely to suffer from it as well. Even more so if both your parents have it because it increases your chances of developing it up to 50%. Being an HIV patient or having frequent bouts of strep throats and similar infections are also risk factors.
Is there a cure for psoriasis?
Psoriasis cannot be cured, but luckily, it can be successfully treated through many different and alternative methods depending on the type of lesions you have and the size of them. Some treatments are:
- Steroid or retinoid creams and dry skin moisturizers.
- Coal tar.
- Light treatments (PUVA).
- Biologic treatments (Humira, Stelara, Remicade).
- Enzyme inhibitors.
Cat bites could give you psoriasis
Recent lesions on the skin caused by animal bites, like the ones from cats, as well as damage caused by tattoos and other skin related traumas are more likely to develop some forms of psoriasis. This is known as the Koebner phenomenon.
If you have psoriasis, take good care of your heart
Heart conditions are very common in people who suffer from severe forms of psoriasis. In fact, they are 58% more likely to have a cardiac event and 43% more likely to have a stroke than people who do not have the disease.
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