Psoriasis Vulgaris: The Basics…

Psoriasis is a common, chronic, recurrent inflammatory disease of the skin characterized by well circumscribed, erythematous, dry, scaling plaques that are usually covered by silvery white scale (plaque type, the most common form).  The lesions tend to be symmetric and have a predilection for the scalp, nails, extensor surfaces of the limbs, umbilical region and the sacral area along the gluteal cleft.  It occurs in 2-4% of the population in males and female patients equally.  It has a bimodal onset between the ages of 15-25 and 50-60 years of age.  It tends to be a lifelong condition and one third of patients have a family history of the disease.

It is considered an autoimmune disease, like lupus.  The immune system in these patients is hyperactive and many of the medications used to treat psoriasis bring the immune system down to more normal levels.  There are many established forms of psoriasis, the most common one is plaque type psoriasis.  Here is a list of forms of psoriasis:

  1.  Plaque
  2.  Nail disease
  3.  Guttate
  4.  Palmar-plantar
  5.  Inverse
  6.  Pustular
  7.  Erythrodermic
  8.  Psoriatic arthritis

I will be talking about the various forms in individual blogs.  Why should you treat your psoriasis?  Well, besides the obvious that this disorder can be very stressful and can cause many patients to hide their condition, it significantly affects your daily living.  Many patients experience depression.  Also, there are a number of complications of the disease that are referred to as comorbidities:

  1.  Psoriatic arthritis can be very destructive
  2.  Eye conditions (blepharitis, conjunctivitis and uveitis)
  3.  Type 2 diabetes
  4.  Hypertension
  5.  Cardiovascular disease
  6.  Metabolic syndrome (increases risk of heart disease)
  7.  Other autoimmune disorders such as celiac disease and Chrohn’s
  8.  Parkinsons disease
  9.  Kidney disease
  10.  Emotional problems

TREATMENTS:  We live in the golden age of treatments for psoriasis and it’s associated diseases.  In fact many studies have shown that treatment of psoriasis helps prevent the development of associated comorbidities and prolong life…treated patients live longer.  I will be addressing some of the many wonderful treatments available in future blogs.  To read a general article on psoriasis click HEREHERE and HERE.