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Psoriasis is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition of which there are five different types or forms. The most common of these is plaque psoriasis which is characterized by dry, thick red marks or patches covered with white or silver scales. These plaques, or patches, usually form on the knees, elbows, lower back and scalp - but they can occur anywhere on the body. Plaque psoriasis occurs in about 80 percent of psoriasis cases.
Instead of being shed, these skin cells "pile up" and form lesions or plaques which itch, appear discolored (pink, red, white, silver) and can be painful in some cases.
Psoriasis affects about 2.5 percent of the population or about 5 to 8 million people in the United States. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 150,000 new cases of psoriasis are diagnosed every year.(3) Psoriasis occurs equally in both men and women and seems to occur more often in caucasians then in African-Americans, or Asians. More cases of psoriasis are found in people from Northern Europe and Scandanavia, and Americans of descent from those regions.
Psoriasis may affect anyone of any age, but usually begins between in people between 15 and 35 years of age and 3 in 4 people prone to the condition develop psoriasis before the age of 40.(4) "Approximately 10 percent to 15 percent of those with psoriasis get it before age 10. Some infants have psoriasis, although this is considered rare." (1)
Psoriasis is not contagious and cannot be passed from one person to another. Instead, researchers believe that psoriasis is a genetic disease related to the immune system. There is no cure for psoriasis but it's characteristic flare ups and remissions can be managed and treated with some success.
Article by Jason Morrow,
Psoriasis is sometimes misspelled as: soriasis, psorisis, psorasis, soriasis, psoriosis, and psoriais.
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