Psoriasis may seem only skin deep, but it begins inside the body within the immune system. The red, scaly, flaky, and itchy patches occur when the skin cells grow too quickly as a result of inflammation caused by the body’s immune system.
Triggers for this abnormal immune reaction can include physical injuries or infections (in particular, a streptococcal throat infection), certain medicines, and emotional stress. Psoriasis varies in severity from person to person and can vary in severity in the same person
at different times.
Occasionally psoriasis can disappear without treatment but more usually, it is a chronic disease that requires treatment. Patches (also called plaques or lesions) can occur on various parts of the body, including the scalp, elbows, and or knees.
Some things you should know about psoriasis
• It is a chronic, systemic, inflammatory skin disease
• It is related to the immune system - an autoimmune disease
• It may run in families (there are several different genes involved in psoriasis)
• It is not curable, but treatments are available
• It is not contagious
• It is sometimes associated with psoriatic arthritis
• It is associated with a slightly higher risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity
• It is associated with a slightly higher risk of cardiovascular disease (angina, heart attack and stroke)
• There is a strong association between psoriasis and depression