What is it?

A skin disease that causes areas of your skin to become red and rough and to fall off

A person can have one or more of the following types of Psoriasis:

  • Plaque
  • Guttate
  • Inverse (flexural psoriasis or intertriginous psoriasis)
  • Pustular
  • Erythrodermic (also called exfoliative psoriasis)
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Plaque Psoriasis

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Erythrodermic Psoriasis

What causes it?

A malfunction of the immune system that signals skin cells to increase the rate of cell-turnover.

Instead of taking several weeks for new cells to get to the skin's surface, it takes a few days.


To get Psoriasis, a person must be genetically linked to someone who has it.

In other words, Psoriasis is hereditary.

It is not at all contagious, and even those who have a family history of Psoriasis may not be affected by the disease.


In most cases, the Psoriasis must be triggered by an outside factor in order for the symptoms to appear.

Triggers include:

  • Stressful life events
  • Strep throat
  • Certain medicines, such as lithium, or medicine to prevent malaria
  • Cold and/or dry weather
  • Cuts or scratches
  • Bad sunburns

What are the symptoms?

Flaky, reddened skin is the general symptom, especially for Plaque Psoriasis, which is most common. (About 80% of the 7.5 million Psoriasis patients in the U.S. have Plaque Psoriasis)

Each type has it's own symptoms.

  • Plaque: raised, reddish patches with "silvery" scales located anywhere on the body, crumbling or pitted nails
  • Guttate: small red bumps usually located on the trunk and limbs of the body, usually triggered by strep throat
  • Pustular: red, swollen, pus-filled bumps, usually on the palms and soles, accompanied with soreness and pain
  • Inverse: smooth, raw-looking patches located where skin touches other skin, accompanied by soreness
  • Erythrodermic: looks like a bad sunburn, inability to regulate body temperature, intense pain and itching, rapid heart beat

Additionally, symptoms may come and go. Someone with Psoriasis may not always show the physical symptoms of having the disease. (Like 12 year old Chris)

How can it be treated?

The goal of Psoriasis treatment is to prevent new skin cells from rising so quickly to the surface of the skin.

This can be accomplished by using:

  • topical therapies such as salicylic acid, coal tar, or topical corticosteroids
  • light therapy such as sunlight, UVB phototherapy, or narrow band UVB phototherapy
  • oral medications such as retinoids, Methotrexate, or drugs that alter the immune system

How does it affect those that have it?

Because Psoriasis shows itself on the surface of the skin, those that have it may feel embarrassed by the portions of their skin affected by the disease. As such, they may wear uncomfortably warm clothing or clothing inappropriate for the season to avoid showing skin.

What is the prognosis for those that have it?

Psoriasis is a chronic disease, meaning that it will not go away.

The disease can be very painful, but symptoms do not always show. They can come and go.

In the case of Erythrodermic Psoriasis and Pustular Psoriasis, leaving the disease untreated can be fatal because the body's ability to maintain homeostasis is compromised.

National Psoriasis Foundation

"The National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) is a non-profit organization with a mission to drive efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected.

Founded in 1966 from a tiny classified ad in a Portland, Ore. newspaper, the Psoriasis Foundation has evolved to become the leading patient advocacy group for the 7.5 million Americans living with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

As emerging research continues to demonstrate the serious, systemic effects of these chronic autoimmune diseases, our highest priority is to find a cure."


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