What is Psoriasis

Knowing how you stand

When your doctor first diagnoses psoriasis it can be a lot to take in. Although it can be a relief to learn that your condition has a name and that something can be done, many people find the relief is mixed with feelings of shock, fear, uncertainty - and even anger.

Everyone's experience of psoriasis will be different, varying from very mild occasional patches and itching to much more severe physical symptoms.
If you have psoriasis you don't need to just accept it. By learning as much as you can about the condition, you will have the information you need to manage your psoriasis in the best possible way.

What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a medical condition that most commonly involves skin cells growing too quickly. Faulty signals originating in the immune system cause new skin cells to form in days rather than weeks.The excessive skin cell growth leads to psoriasis lesions. The lesions have three characteristic features: scaling, thickening and inflammation (redness).It is important to stress that the accelerated cell growth has nothing to do with cancer.

Everyone’s experience of psoriasis will be different, varying from very mild occasional patches and itching to much more severe physical symptoms.

Up to 30% of people who have psoriasis may also get psoriatic arthritis in their joints.If you think you may be affected, talk to your doctor and explain why. 

How many people are affected?

Anyone can develop psoriasis. It is equally common in men and women and affects about 2-3% of the global population.

Psoriasis can start at any age but most people develop psoriasis between the ages of 20-35. 75% of the psoriasis cases occur before the age of 40. However, it is possible to develop the disease both in childhood and in old age.  

What causes psoriasis?

The exact cause of psoriasis is still unknown. It is a complex condition with multiple potential causes, which may be genetic, immunological, environmental and psychological. These factors alter how skin cells function, speeding up the rate at which skin cells are produced and shed.

Psoriasis is not contagious. Nobody gave it to you and you cannot pass it on by touch, swimming in the same pool, or even intimate contact.