Thursday, July 29, 2010

What is Psoriasis?

If you have psoriasis then you already know the effects it can have on a person.  If you do not have psoriasis, I hope that the information you find here will help you to better understand what millions of people like myself deal with in battling this disease. 

     Psoriasis, as defined by The National Psoriasis Foundation, "is a chronic, autoimmune disease that appears on the skin. It occurs when the immune system sends out faulty signals that speed up the growth cycle of skin cells." There are five different kinds of psoriasis that can affect any area of a person's body. What everyone should know, however, is that psoriasis is not contagious in any way, no matter which of the five types a person has.

The Five Types:

1. Plaque  (most common)
This type of psoriasis causes patches of red, inflamed skin covered by white scales that tend to flake off. It most often occurs on the head, knees, elbows, or small of the back.

2.  Guttate
Often appearing in childhood, this particular type leaves small red spots on the arms, legs,and bottom. The spots are not as large and the scales not as thick as with plaque psoriasis.

3.  Inverse
Found in the folds of the skin, such as under the arms or breasts, inverse psoriasis does not usually have scales but instead leaves smooth red patches that are often irritated by sweat, clothing, or the simple rubbing of skin on skin.    
4.  Pustular
Bright red skin and blisters containing a noninfectious pus (filled with white blood cells) are the main characteristic of this type. They can be found covering one area of the body, such as the hands, or may spread to the entire body.
5.  Erythrodermic
This is the most dangerous form of psoriasis.  Due to high inflammation, increased heart rate, fluctuating body temperature, and severe pain and itching, anyone having an episode of erythrodermic psoriasis should seek immediate medical attention.  This particular type affects most of the body and the scales come off in sheets rather than flakes like most other types. 
 Please visit the National Psoriasis Foundation website at, www.psoriasis.org to learn more.

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