Psoriasis is a persistent condition that is caused by an overactive immune system. We know that the cause is a combination of genetic and environmental triggers. Psoriasis is not contagious, but because of genetics it can run in families.
Some triggers include stress, infections, medications, and trauma to the skin. The classic plaques that we see on the skin are the result of the skin replacing itself too fast plus inflammation. Between 10% and 30% of people with psoriasis get psoriatic arthritis that can cause deterioration, pain, and stiffness in the joints. This is important to treat early to avoid irreversible joint deformities and disability. The good news is that researchers are working hard to elucidate the particular genes that cause psoriasis. Doctors from the University of Missouri, University of Utah, and University of California San Francisco are all looking for causes and cures for psoriasis. We now have very effective treatments for psoriasis to reduce the skin and joint symptoms with new ones coming out all the time. Treatments may include topical creams, oral medications, light therapy, and injectables.
We know that having psoriasis can increase your risk for cardiovascular disease, depression, and non-melanoma skin cancers, therefore it is important to work with both your primary care doctor and dermatologist to treat your psoriasis. If you are not sure if you have psoriasis, a dermatologist can examine your skin, nails, and joints along with a biopsy if necessary to diagnose this skin condition.
Don’t hesitate to make an appointment if you have any questions or concerns regarding psoriasis!
Jessica King, PA-C