Psoriasis 101: What is Psoriasis? What causes it and how do you treat it?
What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a common skin condition affecting nearly 7 millions Americans. The skin condition is characterized by rapid turn over of skin cells driven by an underlying inflammatory process. Some of commonly affects body areas include the knees, elbows, and scalp, but it can also affect the torso, palms, feet, and even the nails. Clinically, psoriasis can look like red patches or plaques, and some can be covered with white scales. These lesions can be itchy and painful, and they can bleed.
What Causes Psoriasis?
Multiple factors have been attributed to play a role in the development of psoriasis. Emotional stress, infection (e.g., streptococcal exposure) and trauma are known aggravating triggers that exacerbate the disease. Among these factors, emotional and mental stress has been well documented. In addition, certain drugs such as hypertension medications (e.g., beta blockers) and ibuprofen (e.g., Motrin etc) can also play a role. Lastly, there is a strong genetic connection. Multiple family members tend to have psoriasis.
How to Treat Psoriasis?
In the past decade, there has been tremendous new medical research trying to understand the mechanisms and coming up innovative and effective treatment options. Topical steroids, salicyclic acids, vitamin D remain as viable options for patients with mild diseases. More and more, physicians are prescribing biologics, such TNF-a, IL-17 blockers for patients with extensive diseases. Some of the newer injectable biologics are able to achieve near clearance of psoriasis. Also, many people are also turning to natural and herbal remedies to help them in finding relief for itchy, cracked and dry skin. There are many options. It is important for people with psoriasis to consult a physician (e.g., dermatologist) about all the great treatment options.