People with psoriasis have an increased production of skin cells. Skin cells are normally made and replaced every 28 days, but in psoriasis this process takes about 3 to 7 days. This build up of cells leads to the specific skin lesions seen in psoriasis. We don’t know exactly why it happens but it’s thought to be related to a problem in the immune system and it tends to run in families.
Psoriasis can start at any age and can be triggered by certain events, such as an illness, certain medications, stress, alcohol and injuries to the skin such as a sunburn.
Will it affect the quality of my life?
Psoriasis affects each person differently. Some people are not bothered when large areas of the skin are affected but for others minimal skin and nail changes can have a significant impact on the quality of life.
If you have psoriasis, you are at greater risk of developing other conditions, such as psoriatic arthritis, certain eye conditions, high blood pressure, type II diabetes and cardiovascular problems.
When should I see a doctor?
Seek medical help if psoriatic skin lesions affect your self esteem and confidence or when the changes cause discomfort, itchiness or pain. The development of joint pain and swelling, known as psoriatic arthritis, responds better to early treatment.
How is psoriasis treated?
There is no cure for psoriasis and treatment aims to control the symptoms and prevent/treat psoriasis-related conditions. Often ‘potions and lotions’ (topicals) are prescribed to improve skin lesions. For more widespread disease, light therapy and oral treatments can be considered. Lifestyle measures will be discussed too.