Dr Alexandroff on Psoriasis.
Psoriasis is a very common chronic inflammatory skin condition affecting between 1 and 3% of the population in Europe. It is less frequent among Black and Asian populations and in tropical climates. Individual genes for psoriasis have not yet been identified, but one is more likely to develop psoriasis if a member of family already suffers from it.
Psoriasis can affect any part of the skin with elbows, knees, belly button, and lower back frequently affected. Psoriasis can also involve hands and feet, face, and skin fold areas such as armpits and the genital area. The scalp is the most common site in patients with psoriasis, and nails are affected in 10 - 80% of patients.
Less commonly, patients may have Erythrodermic psoriasis, a condition involving more than 90% of the body surface which additionally often makes the individual feel unwell. It is recommended that such patients see a dermatologist as a matter of urgency not least because the patient’s quality of life may be severely impaired due to the of high visibility of the skin condition.
Although it is not possible to cure this condition, modern treatments usually mean psoriasis can be managed so that the skin is clear or almost clear and quality of life is minimally affected. Treatments vary from moisturisers, creams, ointments and gels with active ingredients (e.g. vitamin D preparations), potent tablets and injections, to Phototherapy - special therapeutic sun-bed based treatments undertaken in hospital. Treatments are tailored to individual patient’s needs and requirements.
It is now becoming apparent that psoriasis may be not only a skin problem but also involves arteries inside the body; therefore patients with severe psoriasis may have an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. It is recommended that patients with psoriasis maintain a healthy lifestyle, do not smoke, eat a healthy diet and regularly exercise in order to minimize risks of cardiovascular diseases.
You can read more about psoriasis and available treatments by clicking on the following links to the
British Association of Dermatologists:
- Psoriasis - an overview
- Topical treatment for Psoriasis
- Treatments for moderate/severe Psoriasis