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PSORIASIS: MORE THAN SKIN DEEP

observes month of august as psoriasis awareness month. The aims are to support people with psoriasis, and to raise awareness about the condition.

Psoriasis is one of the most common skin ailments, affecting about 3 percent of the world population, with no respect for gender, age or socio-economic status. Psoriasis tends to run in families.

The precise causes of psoriasis are unknown. It is generally believed to be caused by damage to factors in the immune system that control skin cell division. An abnormal immune response causes rapid production of immature skin cells and inflammation.

The common symptoms of psoriasis include irritated, red, flaky patches of skin. Patches are most often seen on the elbows, knees, and middle of the body, but can appear anywhere including the scalp. The skin may get itchy and dry with silver, flaky skin (scales).

Psoriasis symptoms flare in response to triggers that can include infections, certain medications, alcohol, smoking, stress, sunburn and skin injury. Sedentary lifestyle which results in weight gain is also involved in the onset of psoriasis.

There is also increasing evidence that psoriasis is more than skin deep. Studies have shown that people with psoriasis face a higher risk of heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular problems. The common complications of the disease include psoriatic arthritis (affection of the joints) and nail deformities.

Psoriasis can negatively impact many aspects of quality of life. Patients with psoriasis undergo psychological and social difficulties including embarrassment, and social inhibition. Although the disease is not contagious, people may avoid contact with affected individuals when the psoriatic lesions are obvious.

Early treatment can control excessive scaling of the skin, ease pain and prevent joint damage in most cases. Many treatments are available that can reduce the bothersome symptoms and appearance of the disease. Outcome of treatment depends upon the severity of the disease, and a person’s response to a particular treatment. A combination of therapies is often recommended.

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