Psoriasis is a condition that is characterized by raised, red scaly patches. It is often found on the scalp, knees and elbows but can show up on other parts of the body as well. It causes skin cells to multiply at a faster rate than normal which can lead to a buildup of lesions. Areas affected by psoriasis also tend to feel warmer because they contain more blood vessels.

Although the exact cause of psoriasis is unknown there is a correlation between genetics and the body’s immune system.

Psoriasis is not contagious so it does not get passed by coming in to contact with a person who has it. It affects men and women equally and can develop at any age, but it is most common between the ages of 15 and 35 years old.

Common signs of psoriasis include:

•Red patches of skin with thick silvery scales
•Cracked and dry skin that may bleed
•Stiff joints that may become swollen
•Itching, burning and soreness
•Nails that are pitted, thick and ridged
There are certain risk factors for developing psoriasis.  This includes stress, smoking, obesity, alcoholism, skin infections, a vitamin D deficiency, and a family history.

Psoriasis is diagnosed by examining the skin. An assessment is conducted based on the thickness and redness of the skin.  If a person is diagnosed, there are three ways that treatment for psoriasis can be approached. Topical creams and ointments that contain corticosteroids are the most commonly prescribed medications for mild to moderate conditions. Light therapy that is either natural or artificial ultraviolet can be used and is directed at the area of the body that is affected. In severe cases, medications that are either injected or taken orally may be required. Depending on severity, these treatments can be offered by themselves or together.  There are also alternative treatments that are being used and this includes Aloe Vera which comes from a plant and omega-3 fatty acids that comes from fish oils.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist at Jamaica Hospital for any type of skin condition, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.