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:
- Pruritus, mild to severe
- Depression related to appearance
- Sharply demarcated scaly plaques
DIAGNOSTIC METHODS: Patient history and physical appearance, sometimes a skin biopsy may be needed.
- Topical medication: Dovenex, coal tars, corticosteroids
- Systemic medication: corticosteroids and methotrexate
- Exposure to ultraviolet light; photochemotherapy
- Immnomodlators: Enbrel, Raptiva
EDUCATION/SUPPORT: Please join the National Psoriasis Foundation at http://www.aad.org