Psoriasis (sore-EYE-ah-sis) is a chronic (long-lasting) disease. It develops when a person’s immune system sends faulty signals that tell skin cells to grow too quickly. New skin cells form in days rather than weeks.
The body does not shed these excess skin cells. The skin cells pile up on the surface of the skin, causing patches of psoriasis to appear.
Psoriasis may look contagious, but it's not.
You cannot get psoriasis from touching someone who has it. To get psoriasis, a person must inherit the genes that cause it.
Psoriasis is a long-lasting disease. Here are some things you can do that will help you take control.
- Learn about psoriasis. Knowledge really is power. Learning about psoriasis will help you manage the disease, make informed decisions about how you treat psoriasis, and avoid things that can make psoriasis worse. It will also help you talk about psoriasis with others.
- Take good care of yourself. Eating a healthy diet, exercising, not smoking, and drinking very little alcohol will help. Smoking, drinking, and being overweight make psoriasis worse. These also can make treatment less effective. People who have psoriasis also have an increased risk for developing heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases, so taking good care of yourself is essential.
Be aware of your joints. If your joints feel stiff and sore, especially when you wake up, see a dermatologist. Stiff or sore joints can be the first sign of psoriatic (sore-EE-at-ic) arthritis. Between 10% and 30% of people who get psoriasis, get this type of arthritis.
Treatment is essential. This type of arthritis can eat away the joints. Treatment can prevent deformed joints and disability.
- Notice your nails. If your nails begin to pull away from the nail bed or develop pitting, ridges, or a yellowish-orange color, see a dermatologist. These are signs of psoriatic arthritis.
- Pay attention to your mood.If you feel depressed, you may want to join a psoriasis support group or see a mental health professional. Depression, anxiety, and suicidal behavior are more common in people who have psoriasis. Getting help is not a sign of weakness.
- Learn about treatment for psoriasis. Some people choose not to treat psoriasis, but it is important to know your options. This will help you make an informed decision and feel in control.
- Talk with your dermatologist before you stop taking medicine for psoriasis. Immediately stopping a medicine for psoriasis can have serious consequences. It can cause one type of psoriasis to turn into another more serious type of psoriasis. This can be very dangerous
Thanks to ongoing research, there are many treatments for psoriasis. It is important to work with a dermatologist to find treatment that works for you and fits your lifestyle. Every treatment has benefits, drawbacks, and possible side effects.
Let our dermatologists at Alexandria Associates in Dermatology work with you to create a treatment plan that is right for you.