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About Psoriasis
Psoriatic Arthritis
Facts About Psoriasis
Profile of Psoriasis

Nearly three percent of the world's population, men, women, and children, even newborn babies, endure the symptoms of psoriasis. Many tolerate constant pain from cracking and bleeding skin. They bear the humiliation of continually shedding scales that litter their clothes and surroundings. They struggle with the disappointment of treatments and the lack of a cure. Some wrestle with a crippling form of arthritis. More than anything, they sometimes bear the brunt of public rejection because of the misunderstanding surrounding the disease.

Yet, much of the world's population finds psoriasis a trivial matter requiring little understanding or sympathy. Sometimes they even find it humorous and enjoy a chuckle over the "heartbreak of psoriasis" an advertising tagline made popular in the USA. Some people still equate psoriasis with being unclean or self imposed and shun those who bear its mark. When, in fact, many people with psoriasis isolate themselves because of such a deep sense of shame.

Psoriasis associations from around the world give people the tools to cope with this troubling disease. They rebuild people's hope and give them the support they require. IFPA provides the reinforcement to build better psoriasis associations, gives member associations a global voice to campaign on behalf of those who bear its mark, and the unity that strengthens everyone's ability to support research that will someday find a cause and a cure for these diseases.

What is psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a common, chronic, relapsing, immune-mediated, inflammatory disorder with primary involvement of the skin and a strong genetic predisposition. The disease onset usually occurs in younger ages. Skin lesions typically represent erythematous, inflammatory plaques and silvery scaling expressing the inflammatory changes and keratinocyte hyperproliferation.

A substantial proportion of psoriasis patients experience an inflammatory polyarthritis (psoriatic arthritis) that may include enthesitis, synovitis, tenosynovitis, periostitis, osteitis, sacroiliitis and spondyloarthritis. Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis cause major physical, functional and psychosocial disability.

With increasing severity the spectrum of psoriasis is associated with signs of systemic inflammation and several comorbidities including cardio-vascular diseases, the metabolic syndrome, an increased risk for mortality and shorter life-span. Special types include nail psoriasis, pustular psoriasis (localized to palms and soles, or generalized), psoriatic erythroderma, inverse psoriasis and various forms of palmo-plantar involvement.

Who gets psoriasis?
Psoriasis affects two to three percent of the world's population. It can develop in males or females of any ethnicity or age. It often appears between the ages of 15 and 35, although it can strike at any age including infants and the elderly.

What causes psoriasis?
The exact  causes of psoriasis have not yet been determined, but it has been confirmed that it is related to the body's immune system and that it has a hereditary predisposition, meaning that it can run in families. In people with psoriasis, the immune system is mistakenly "triggered" causing skin cells to grow too fast. The rapidly growing cells pile up in the skin's top layers, leading to the formation of lesions on the surface.

Right now, there are many psoriasis associations and medical societies around the world supporting research to find out why people get psoriasis and how it can be treated or even cured.

How bad can psoriasis get?
Psoriasis can be limited to a few areas of the skin (mild), or it can be moderate or widespread and severe. A normal skin cell matures in 28 to 30 days and sheds from the skin unnoticed. Psoriatic skin cells mature within seven days. They "heap up" and form scaly lesions. Psoriasis lesions can be painful and itchy and they can crack and bleed.

Due to the serious nature of the comorbid conditions associated with primarily severe psoriasis, it is important to always seek medical counsel for the condition, so that it may be monitored and treated properly.

How do I know I have psoriasis?
A physician usually makes the diagnosis after looking at the skin. Occasionally a physician examines a skin biopsy under a microscope. Pitting of the nails is sometimes a sign of psoriasis. There is no specific medical test for psoriasis.

Is psoriasis contagious?
No, people cannot catch psoriasis from someone else.

What are some of the myths surrounding psoriasis?
As psoriasis can be seen on the skin people will tend to speculate on what is wrong. They wonder if the lesions might be contagious, which they are not, or that the person who has psoriasis is unclean, overly nervous or high-strung. Sometimes they may believe the person who has the condition did something to cause psoriasis to appear but that, too, is false.

What are the chances of getting psoriasis?
It is not possible to predict who will get psoriasis. Heredity (the genetic transfer of features from parent to child) plays a role, but some people who have psoriasis have no obvious family history of psoriasis.

Is there a cure for psoriasis?
Not yet. Psoriasis is a chronic condition that most often requires lifelong treatment. And because there are so many different medications and treatment options, and no person is alike another, it may take some time before the right treatment or combination of treatments will work for an individual. Sometimes psoriasis becomes worse (called a flare) than at other times. In some cases, psoriasis can go away on its own for a period of time, which is known as a "spontaneous remission." 

Contact: IFPA Secretariat / Gustavslundsvägen 143 / 167 51 Bromma / SWEDEN ● E-mail: info@ifpa-pso.com
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