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What is psoriasis?
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Psoriasis is a non-contagious skin inflammatory skin condition.. The most common symptoms of psoriasis are thick, red patches known as plaques, and dry, silvery scales. These appear most often on the scalp, face, elbows, knees, palms, and soles of the feet. The genital areas may also be involved.
Patches on the scalp shed large, silver-white scales at the hairline that resemble severe dandruff.
The patches found in moist areas, such as the underarms, are usually not as scaly. All patches may itch. If fingernails are involved, they may be pitted, frayed, thickened, or discolored; in more advanced cases, the nails separate from the nail beds. Usually, psoriasis produces no general health problems. Sometimes, however, the disease becomes so severe that chills, painful reddening of the skin, cracking of the skin around the joints, and shedding of large areas of scaled skin result. This condition, called exfoliative psoriasis, may require hospitalization for intensive therapy.

Psoriasis is a chronic disease that affects more than 170,000 Filipinos or 125 million people all over the world. There are reported cases in all age groups but more prevalent on adults.

About half the people who live with psoriasis also see changes in their toenails or fingernails; these may include pitting, discoloration, shape changes, or even loss of the entire nail.

The diagnosis is typically made by a dermatologist, a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions that affect the skin, hair, nails, and mucous membranes. When the above symptoms are not evident, the dermatologist will look for:

  • A family history of psoriasis
  • Signs of psoriasis on the fingernails or toenails
  • A pink rash in the crease of the buttocks
  • Skin patches with well-defined edges
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