Psoriasis

DEFINITION: A chronic condition in which there are patches of inflammation that are red and covered with silvery scales; these usually occur on the elbows, knees, lower back, and scalp; in rare cases they may cover the entire body.

CAUSE: Unknown, it may be a genetic symptom that increases during stress and high anxiety; other related factors are alcoholism, trauma, and infection (strep throat).

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS:

Subjective

  • Pruritus, mild to severe
  • Depression related to appearance

Objective

  • Scratching
  • Sharply demarcated scaly plaques

DIAGNOSTIC METHODS: Patient history and physical appearance, sometimes a skin biopsy may be needed.

TREATMENT:

  • Topical medication: Dovenex, coal tars, corticosteroids
  • Systemic medication: corticosteroids and methotrexate
  • Exposure to ultraviolet light; photochemotherapy
  • Anxiolytics
  • Antimetabolties
  • Immnomodlators: Enbrel, Raptiva

EDUCATION/SUPPORT: Please join the National Psoriasis Foundation at http://www.aad.org