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PSORIASIS

It occurs when the immune system sends out faulty signals that speed up the growth cycle of skin cells. Psoriasis is not contagious.

These are red, scaly (silvery white) patches which can appear anywhere on the skin. It is uncommon before age of 10 and common between 15-30 years. Psoriasis can also cause inflammation of the joint which is known as psoriatic arthritis. Between 10% and 40% of all people with psoriasis have psoriatic arthritis. The degree of severity is generally based on the following factors: the proportion of body surface area affected; disease activity (degree of plaque redness, thickness and scaling); response to previous therapies; and the impact of the disease on the person.

CAUSES

Unknown. Possibly genetically determined.
Precipitating factors are:-
1. Psychological emotional stress.
2. Cold weather.
3. Injury.
4. Septic focus.
5. Drugs like Steroids, Brufen, Lithium, Antimalarials and Beta-adrenergic blockers.


SYMPTOMS

1. Usually affects both sides of body symmetrically.
2. Well circumscribed red, dry plaques (flat areas on skin) of various sizes, covered with scales Removal of scales gives rise to pin-point bleeding points. Sites can be anywhere on the body especially on e.g. elbow, knees, sacrum and occiput.
3. Lesions are coin shaped or circular with central clearing.
4. Joints can get affected especially finger joints.
5. Nails frequently become pitted and thick with brownish black discoloration.

DO'S AND DON'TS

1. Try to avoid or overcome the precipitating or trigger factors.
2. A warm climate may help to control relapses.Coal-tar, steroidal preparations are effective for a short time and should not be continued for long.
3. Artificial ultraviolet light may help.
4. There is some evidence to link alcohol with psoriasis. So avoid alcohol altogether.
5. Raise your general immunity with a good nutritious diet and regular exercise.

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