Saturday, March 26, 2011

What Is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that affects about 2% of the general population. Although psoriasis can looks bit disconcerting and can be damaging on confidence and self esteem, it is not considered contagious and if you don't have it you won't get it just because you know someone that has it. The psoriasis symptoms affect each person differently. While one person may experience small areas of patchy skin, others will have patches all over the body. Learning everything about this chronic skin condition is the first step to treating and preventing psoriasis.

There are various psoriasis treatments that your doctor may suggest but it is important to note that there are various natural psoriasis treatments that work just as well. In addition, there are many psoriasis home treatment methods and home remedies for psoriasis that that treat and control psoriasis flare-ups.

What is psoriasis? Psoriasis is from the Greek word "itch." Although the specific psoriasis causes have not been identified to date, an important risk factor for the development of psoriasis relates to genes.

In order to fully answer the question "What is psoriasis?" it is important to know how skin behaves since psoriasis is related to abnormal skin cell production. Typical skin has two layers - the dermis(inner layer) and epidermis(outer layer). Newer skin cells develop from the inner layer and gradually become the outer layer as the top layer dries and dies off and are discarded. This process takes approximately 28 to 30 days.

This process is not usually noticeable in healthy skin as we lose skin cells any myriad of ways whether it is when showering, towel drying, etc.

To answer the question "What is psoriasis," when someone suffers from psoriasis, this skin regeneration process takes place at an abnormally fast pace which is usually 3-4 days and not the usual 28 to 30 day period. With psoriasis, new skin cells move quickly from the inner to the top layer before the top layer has been given a chance to dry off and die. This causes a buildup of dead skin cells on the top of the skin.

The commonly affected areas are the elbows, scalp, knuckles, knees, although these affected skin patches may be found anywhere on the body. These skin patches can be quite unsightly and be evidenced by dry, silvery gray scales. They can also have a red or pinkish red appearance to signify the rich blood supply that is supporting this overproduction of new skin cells.

Psoriasis can vary in severity from mild cases to severe cases which are evidenced by the destruction of the protective functions of the skin causing the skin to lose nutrients and moisture, etc.

It is important to remember when seeking to answer the question "what is psoriasis" to note that this chronic skin condition is not contagious. While research is ongoing as to why the auto immune system malfunctions leading to this abnormal skin regeneration, one of the factors that will increase your risk of developing this condition is if there is a family history of this disease.

Although there is increased risk of developing this skin condition as a result of hereditary factors, it is not as clear cut as that. You may develop this condition if both your parents have this condition or you may not.

Psoriasis symptoms affect each person differently. One person may only have small patches of this scaly skin on a few areas of the skin while another has large areas of skin affected by psoriasis. There are many types of psoriasis but the most common type is known as plaque psoriasis. For more discussion on the various types of psoriasis, see below.

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