Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease characterised by scaly, inflamed patches on different parts of the body. This relapsing disease affects men and women alike, with a slightly higher occurrence among Caucasians. Although the exact cause of the disease is still not known, it is believed to result from rapid, abnormal and excessive proliferation of the skin cells. This usually happens when the patient’s body starts identifying its own tissues as foreign matter, and begins attacking them. 
Psoriasis is considered to be an auto-immune disease, which primarily starts with a malfunction of the patient’s immune system. T cells, which are white blood cells, protect the body from diseases and infections. In psoriasis, these cells are activated by mistake, and start setting off other immune responses. Due to this, skin cells swell and start multiplying faster than normal. Psoriasis patients may sometimes notice their condition getting better for no evident reason, and also worsening on some other day without any explanation. Certain infections, drugs, weather changes and increased stress can trigger a psoriasis attack and can lead to a worsening of the condition.
In mild psoriasis, rashes appear on certain parts of the body. In mild to moderate cases, the skin may get inflamed, and one can see raised areas of red skin topped with silvery, loose, scaling skin. In severe cases, the skin may become tender and itchy, and large patches may become very uncomfortable for the patient. Sometimes, it may affect the toenails and finger nails, causing them to change colour, pit, and even separate from their nail beds. A large percentage of psoriasis patients also develop psoriatic arthritis, in which their joints become tender, painful and swollen.
The best way to take care of the skin in psoriasis is to keep it moist with lotions, creams, baths and soaks. For mild psoriasis, OTC drugs containing aloe can be highly soothing. Avoid anything that triggers flare-ups, such as a skin injury, stress, anxiety, infection, over-exposure to sunlight, alcohol, smoking, and certain medicines like NSAIDs, and beta-blockers, among others. Over time, the patient will be able to identify the triggers, and avoid them altogether.
The treatment for psoriasis depends on the size of the patches, type of psoriasis, its level of seriousness, and how the patient’s body reacts to specific treatment procedures. Some of the treatment procedures for psoriasis include:
Research is still being conducted to understand psoriasis in greater detail, and to chart out more effective treatment procedures. Currently, psoriasis treatment can continue throughout the patient’s life. Psoriasis patients must exercise a lot of caution in order to be able to lead a comfortable life.
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