August is Psoriasis Action Month, formerly known as National Psoriasis Awareness Month. The new name change signifies an evolution from just an annual awareness and education campaign to include an action-oriented effort, encouraging those who suffer from this condition to be proactive in treatment efforts.
With that in mind, we’ll devote some time this month to share information, including types, signs, misconceptions and treatment options related to this common skin condition.
What is psoriasis?
According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, Psoriasis is an immune-mediated disease that causes raised, red, scaly patches to appear on the skin. It also is a chronic disease, which means it lasts a long time.
When a person has psoriasis, the immune system sends signals for skin cells to develop too quickly—in days rather than weeks. The result: skin cells begin to build up on the skin’s surface because the body does not shed the extra skin cells, causing what often looks like patches or scales on the skin.
How many people in the U.S. have this condition?
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, an estimated 7.5 million Americans suffer from this skin condition. Psoriasis can begin at any age in any race or gender. It mostly surfaces in people aged 15 to 40, however, infants, children and people beyond 40 can develop the disease.
What are the most common symptoms of this disease?
Psoriasis signs and symptoms differ from person to person but may include one or more of the following:
• Red patches of skin covered with silvery scales
• Small scaling spots (commonly seen in children)
• Dry, cracked skin that may bleed
• Itching, burning or soreness
• Thickened, pitted or ridged nails
• Swollen and stiff joints
Where will psoriasis sufferers see the symptoms?
Often, psoriasis symptoms appear on the elbows, knees, scalp, palms and soles of the feet. However, psoriasis may appear on any of the skin’s surface.
Check back to learn more about psoriasis this month.