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Psoriasis is a chronic, auto-immune disease of the skin that affects about 3 percent of the population. It involves an overactive immune system, which sends out faulty signals that accelerate the growth cycle of skin cells, resulting in thick red plaques of dry skin. Psoriasis is not contagious. It causes unpredictable flare-ups and varies a great deal from one person to the next.
There are 5 types of psoriasis:
Psoriasis is an unpredictable condition that can affect people of all ages. Symptoms can appear for three or four months, disappear for several months – even years – and then reappear.
Other skin conditions, such as eczema, can present symptoms similar to those of plaque or guttate psoriasis. Do not hesitate to consult a health professional if you have any questions about these or any other skin disorders.
The exact causes of psoriasis remain unknown at present, but experts do know that the immune system and genetic factors are involved. Normally, in someone without psoriasis, skin cells reproduce at an even pace to ensure the constant renewal of the epidermis. In the case of psoriasis, however, healthy skin produces too many new cells, which raise the skin. As a result, the superficial layers of cells do not receive any blood, die and form a white, scaly crust.
While about 10 percent of people inherit genes that predispose them to psoriasis, only 2 to 3 percent develop the disease. A combination of genetic predisposition to the disease and exposure to certain environmental triggers is believed to be at the root of psoriasis.
Many factors can cause the onset of plaques:
Since psoriasis cannot be cured, treatment options and prevention measures aim mainly at reducing the intensity of the symptoms.
Products containing cortisone, tar, salicylic acid or other agents can be used to reduce symptoms. Moisturizing creams can also help ease the discomfort of psoriasis. Talk to your pharmacist to find out which product is best for you.
Natural light and artificial ultraviolet (UV) light are both used in the treatment of psoriasis. Exposure to UV rays, especially UVBs, is thought to be beneficial. Phototherapy usually takes place in the doctor’s office.
There are also prescribed oral or injectable medications. These drugs are reserved for more severe cases.
Here are a few tips for people suffering from psoriasis.
Psychological and emotional factors, such as a major stressful event, family conflicts or the loss of a loved one play an important role in psoriasis flare-ups. People with psoriasis should therefore practise relaxation activities or seek professional counselling to better understand and manage their stress.
People with psoriasis are at a greater risk for developing other health conditions, such as:
Psoriasis sufferers should maintain a healthy lifestyle that involves the proactive management of these risk factors:
Do you have questions about psoriasis and its treatment? Consult your pharmacist for expert advice!
[UNIPRIX] - The information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide complete information on the subject matter or to replace the advice of a health professional. This information does not constitute medical consultation, diagnosis or opinion and should not be interpreted as such. Please consult your health care provider if you have any questions about your health, medications or treatment.