Psoriasis medications can treat more than the skin

The National Psoriasis Foundation, Dermatology Nurses Association, Dermatologists and People with Psoriasis have collaborated to offer a new resource to help people with psoriasis cope with the social and emotional impact of psoriasis.

Psoriasis, a disease affecting nearly 5 million U.S. adults, has a significant physical and emotional impact on sufferers.

A recent study of moderate-to-severe psoriasis patients found that over 50 percent say the disease has a severe impact on their self-confidence, relationships, workplace, and social life. Psoriasis can be emotionally and physically taxing on people, but there are new treatments that can work quickly and provide continuous control of symptoms to help people improve their self-esteem and relationships, and get back to living normal lives.

Psoriasis is a disease whose main symptom is gray or silvery flaky patches on the skin which are red and inflamed underneath when scratched. In the United States, it affects 2 to 2.6 percent of the population, or between 5.8 and 7.5 million people. Commonly affected areas include the scalp, elbows, knees, navel, and groin. Psoriasis is autoimmune in origin, and is not contagious. Around a quarter of people with psoriasis also suffer from psoriatic arthritis, which is similar to rheumatoid arthritis in its effects.

Types of Psoriasis

Plaque psoriasis
Skin lesions are red at the base and covered by silvery scales.

Guttate psoriasis
Small, drop-shaped lesions appear on the trunk, limbs, and scalp. Guttate psoriasis is most often triggered by upper respiratory infections (for example, a sore throat caused by streptococcal bacteria).

Pustular psoriasis
Blisters of noninfectious pus appear on the skin. Attacks of pustular psoriasis may be triggered by medications, infections, stress, or exposure to certain chemicals.

Inverse psoriasis
Smooth, red patches occur in the folds of the skin near the genitals, under the breasts, or in the armpits. The symptoms may be worsened by friction and sweating.

Erythrodermic psoriasis
Widespread reddening and scaling of the skin may be a reaction to severe sunburn or to taking corticosteroids (cortisone) or other medications. It can also be caused by a prolonged period of increased activity of psoriasis that is poorly controlled.

Psoriatic arthritis
Joint inflammation that produces symptoms of arthritis in patients who have or will develop psoriasis.

For more information on new resources to help cope with psoriasis, visit


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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