What is PSORIASIS?
PSORIASIS is named from the Greek word psora meaning "ITCH".
It is a non-contagious chronic skin disease, in which patches of skin become inflamed and scales develop. Scaling occurs when cells in the outer layer of the skin reproduce faster than normal and pile up on the skin's surface.
Psoriasis is an immune-mediated manifestation in the skin and/or the joints. According to the Psoriasis Association, about 2-3% of the world population is affected by Psoriasis. It can be limited to a few lesions or can involve moderate to large areas of skin. The severity of psoriasis can vary from person to person; however, for most people, psoriasis tends to be mild.
'Plaque Psoriasis' is the most common form of psoriasis, which affects about 80% of all psoriasis patients. Its scientific name is 'Psoriasis Vulgaris' (vulgaris means common). Plaque Psoriasis is characterized by inflamed, raised, red lesions covered by silvery-white scales/plaques. Elbows, knees, scalp, and lower back are the most common places for Plaque Psoriasis occurrence.
No one knows exactly what causes psoriasis, but it is believed by most researchers that the immune system is somehow mistakenly triggered, which speeds up the growth cycle of skin cells. A normal skin cell matures and falls off the body's surface in 28 to 30 days. But a psoriatic skin cell takes only three to four days to mature and move to the surface. As these cells are not dry enough for falling off (shedding), the cells pile up and form the scales, which are de-linked from the body's immune system and don't fall off.
As of now, there is no permanent cure for psoriasis. There are many different therapies, which can reduce, or nearly stop their symptoms, but most of them are with a lot of side effects ranging from normal irritation to the skin to causing cancer and birth defects.