An autoimmune disorder, psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that most often appears as red, scaly patches that itch, crack, and bleed. The most common areas of skin that are impacted by psoriasis include the scalp, elbows, knees, and lower back. An estimated 7.5 million Americans are living with this condition that, when treated, can be managed.
With August being Psoriasis Awareness Month, here are five things you need to know:
- The cause of psoriasis is still largely unknown. While the exact cause of psoriasis is not known, researchers are actively studying treatments that help skin not react to the immune system. They also are looking at the association between the disorder and other conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. Generally, though, psoriasis is thought to be caused by abnormally fast-growing and shedding skin cells. The skin cells multiply quickly, causing the skin to shed every three to four days. It is also thought that the condition can be caused by a trigger – such as injury, sunburn, certain medicines, infection, stress, alcohol, or tobacco.
- Psoriasis is not contagious, but it does run in families. Anyone can get psoriasis and it affects both women and men and all ethnicities at the same rate. One risk factor for the disorder is if someone in your family – father, mother, grandparent, aunt, uncle – has psoriasis.