What is psoriasis? Here’s what to know and how to recognize its symptoms

August is Psoriasis Awareness Month

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Hands (Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas/Pexels stock image)

Psoriasis affects more than 8 million Americans and 125 million people worldwide, making it one of the most common autoimmune diseases in existence. Though many people may have heard of this disease, many don’t realize its impact on the body.

With long-lasting and noticeable rashes that can lead to more severe conditions, such as painful psoriatic arthritis, it’s essential to understand this condition and recognize its symptoms.

Take a moment to learn more about psoriasis and how it can affect the immune system.

What is Psoriasis Awareness Month?

Psoriasis Awareness Month is an opportunity to educate and inform sufferers on a range of topics surrounding the skin condition.

Since the direct cause of developing psoriasis is still unknown, the month of August has been designated to provide as much information as possible surrounding the chronic condition.

What causes psoriasis?

The first thing to recognize is that psoriasis is not just a skin disease; it is an autoimmune condition that affects the skin, joints and heart.

There is no known cause when it comes to the disease, making it hard to pin down a cure. Fortunately, dermatologists have developed plenty of tools, medication and techniques to help mitigate the condition. In some cases, they can even help make it appear to be gone.

Though the exact cause of psoriasis is still up in the air, specialists have concluded that genetics play a significant role.

People with psoriasis often deal with immune system responses and reactions. These include enlargement of the skin’s blood vessels, an increase in skin cells, T-cells, and other immune system cells, as well as an accumulation of excess skin cells on the surface of the skin.

Signs and symptoms

There are many symptoms of psoriasis. Since it is a skin condition that can develop anywhere on the body, it’s important to know the signs associated with the disease. Most people report having it on their elbows, knees, scalp, buttocks and belly button.

If you have any of the following signs or symptoms, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with your dermatologist before this condition becomes more severe:

  • Swollen or stiff joints
  • Patches of red, raised skin
  • Thick, white scaly skin
  • Inflammation
  • Itching or burning skin
  • Cracked skin that bleeds when dry
When should I schedule an exam?

Though there are many ways this disease can be controlled and treated, it’s always best to consult with a professional so you can receive the best treatment plan for your unique needs.

If you notice any signs that an itchy rash is present on your body, seek a professional opinion. Early recognition, diagnosis and treatment are essential to help relieve inflammation and pain. In fact, delaying treatment for as little as six months could result in permanent joint damage.

Prevent the worst by reaching out to a dermatologist to receive the prompt and professional support you need and deserve.

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