Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin condition characterised by clearly defined, red and scaly plaques (thickened skin). It is classified into several subtypes.

Psoriasis affects 2–4% of males and females. It can start at any age including childhood, with peaks of onset at 15–25 years and 50–60 years. It tends to persist lifelong, fluctuating in extent and severity. It is particularly common in Caucasians, but may affect people of any race. About one third of patients with psoriasis have family members with psoriasis.


aggravating factors

  • Streptococcal tonsillitis and other infections

  • Injuries such as cuts, abrasions, sunburn

  • Sun exposure in 10% (sun exposure is more often beneficial)

  • Obesity

  • Smoking

  • Excessive alcohol

  • Stressful event

  • Medications such as lithium, beta blockers, antimalarials, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories

  • Stopping oral steroids or strong topical corticosteroids

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Health conditions associated with psoriasis

Patients with psoriasis are more likely than other people to have other health conditions including:

  • Inflammatory arthritis “psoriatic arthritis” and spondyloarthropathy (in up to 40% of patients with early onset chronic plaque psoriasis)

  • Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn disease and ulcerative colitis)

  • Uveitis (inflammation of the eye)

  • Coeliac disease

  • Metabolic syndrome: obesity, hypertension, hyperlipidaemia, gout, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes

  • Localised palmoplantar pustulosis, generalised pustulosis and acute generalised exanthematous pustulosis

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how is psoriasis treated?

Psoriasis is diagnosed by its clinical features. While there is no single treatment that will cure psoriasis it is possible to control it and sometimes clear it. Medications are available which can slow down the rate at which the skin cells are produced. You are best to discuss treatment options with your Dermatologist.