Psoriasis is a noncontagious, chronic skin condition that produces plaques of thickened, scaling skin. The dry flakes of skin scales results from the excessively rapid proliferation of skin cells. The proliferation of skin cells is triggered by inflammatory chemicals produced by specialized white blood cells referred to as T-lymphocytes. Psoriasis usually affects the skin of the elbows, knees and scalp.
The spectrum of the disease ranges from mild with limited involvement of small areas of skin to large, thick plaques to red inflammed skin affecting the entire body surface.
Psoriasis is considered an incurable, long-term (chronic) inflammatory skin condition. It has a variable course, periodically improving and worsening. It’s not unusual for psoriasis to spontaneously clear for years and stay in remission. A lot of people note a worsening of their symptoms in the colder winter months.
Furthermore, psoriasis affects all races and both sexes. Although psoriasis can be seen in people of any age, from babies to seniors, most commonly patients are first diagnosed in their early adult years. The quality of life of patients with psoriasis is often diminished because of the skin’s appearance. Recently, it has become clear that people with psoriasis are more likely to have diabetes, high blood lipids, cardiovascular disease and a wide array of other inflammatory diseases. This may reflect an inability to control inflammation.