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Psoriasis : Things You Should Know

Dr. Pradeep Aggarwal    05-08-2016 Consult

Does human skin shed? What happens if the skin cells grow back too fast? Is that rash contagious? For over 2 million people in India, these questions take on a very significant relevance as they deal with a chronic and often unpredictable condition known as psoriasis. It can result in thickened, red, and scaly skin patches. It can also cause joint pain and arthritis. Here are 5 things your need to know about psoriasis:

Does human skin shed?
We all have skin. It's the largest organ of the body, and its purpose is to protect the body from infection and external trauma. The outer layer of skin is called the epidermis. The epidermis is in fact constantly shedding and replacing old cells with new cells.

What happens when the skin cells grow back too fast?
Psoriasis occurs when this process becomes unbalanced. In normal skin the old cells of the epidermis shed off about as  fast as new ones are grown. In psoriasis the new skin cells grow too fast, and that results in the thick, scaly areas of skin that are known as plaques.

Is psoriasis contagious?
Psoriasis is NOT contagious. It cannot be passed from person to person. It is more common in some families, and research has linked certain genes to the disease. Psoriasis actually begins in the immune system. There are cells within the immune system that become so active that they set off other immune system responses that lead to swelling, inflammation and the fast turnover of the skin cells.

What parts of the body are involved?
Psoriasis is unpredictable. Plaques can occur anywhere on the body, although common areas of involvement are the scalp, elbows, knees, shins, and lower back. Since psoriasis involves the immune system, and the process that leads to psoriasis comes from inside the body, there can be other manifestations of the disease such as arthritis. In fact, up to 30% of psoriasis patients have psoriatic arthritis.

How is psoriasis treated?
Treatment depends on multiple factors, including the severity of the disease, the specific type of psoriasis,  the size and extent of the plaques and how the patient responds to a specific type of treatment. Treatments include topical creams and ointments, ultraviolet light therapy and medications.

If you are concerned about possible psoriasis, or other skin rash, contact a Doctor Insta physician. They can review your history and specific findings to help determine the best course of action to help manage your condition.
 

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