Psoriasis: Putting It All Together

Here is a summary of the important facts and information related to psoriasis.

  • Psoriasis is a chronic skin disorder that affects both men and women.
  • Psoriasis is not an infection and it is not contagious-you cannot “catch” it from anyone.
  • The severity of psoriasis varies widely. The most common pattern is for the disease to be limited to certain parts of the body but to recur frequently.
  • Treatment can often control the disease for long periods. However, none of the available treatments is a cure. The disease can come back when treatment stops.
  • In about one-third of cases, psoriasis is inherited. If both of a child’s parents have psoriasis, the child’s chances of getting the disease are about 50-50.
  • Skin injury, climate change, infection, drug reactions, and stress can all cause psoriasis to flare up or worsen.
  • Treatment for psoriasis varies depending on
    • the type of psoriasis
    • the extent and severity of the disease (how much of the skin is affected and how badly)
    • the age, sex, and lifestyle of the affected person
    • how the affected person has responded to treatment in the past.
  • In general, doctors treat psoriasis in three ways.
    • medications applied to the skin (topical therapy)
    • treatments that use ultraviolet light (phototherapy)
    • medications given as a pill or injection (systemic therapy)
  • Biologic agents, administered through injection, are being introduced for the treatment of psoriasis and have substantial advantages over previously used systemic therapies because they have fewer risks and side effects.
  • Treatments can be combined in various ways to try to get the best outcome. Finding the most effective treatment for an affected individual can involve a lot of trial and error.

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