Answers FAQ

Psoriasis FAQs

Reviewed by William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

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Q:Psoriasis causes the top layer of skin cells to become inflamed and grow too quickly and flake off. True or False?

A:True. Psoriasis, a chronic skin condition, causes skin cells to grow too quickly. Symptoms include thick white, silvery, or red patches of skin, inflammation, and itchy, flaking skin.

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Q:Symptoms of psoriasis are known to come and go. True or False?

A:True. Symptoms of psoriasis come and go, periodically improving and worsening. Sometimes psoriasis may clear for years and stay in remission. Often people have worsening of their symptoms in the colder winter months. Many people report improvement of the skin in warmer months, warmer climates, or with increased sunlight exposure.

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Q:Psoriasis can be cured. True or False?

A:False. Psoriasis is not currently curable. However, it can go into remission and show no signs of disease. Fortunately, when it is active, many treatment options are available to manage psoriasis.

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Q:Psoriasis is contagious and may be spread by direct contact. True or False?

A:False. Psoriasis cannot be spread from person to person. You cannot "catch" it from a person affected by it, and you cannot pass it to anyone else by skin-to-skin contact. You can directly touch the skin affected by psoriasis and this will not increase your risk of developing psoriasis.

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Q:Psoriasis tends to run in families. True or False?

A:True. Psoriasis often runs in families. Because of this, a family history can actually be helpful in making the diagnosis. More than 30% of people with psoriasis report having a relative with the disease.

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Q:What plays a major role in psoriasis?

A:The immune system. The immune system plays a major role in psoriasis because psoriasis is caused by an overactive immune system. In psoriasis, certain blood cells are put into action by mistake. They become so active that they set off other immune responses. The attack of one's tissues by one's own immune system is characteristic of an autoimmune disorder.

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Q:Men and women get psoriasis at roughly the same rate. True or False?

A:True. Men and women get psoriasis at about the same rate.

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Q:Weight what puts women at greater risk for psoriasis. True or False?

A:Gain. A large study has shown that women who gain weight throughout adult life are more likely to develop psoriasis. Other risk factors for psoriasis include cold climates, emotional and physical stress, infection, skin injuries, and smoking.

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Q:Psoriasis can be associated with arthritis. True or False?

A:True. About 10%-15% of people with psoriasis eventually develop psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis can be mild, yet in severe cases it causes pain, stiffness, swelling, and destruction in and around affected joints. Early treatment may prevent joint damage that occurs as psoriatic arthritis progresses.

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Q:Pregnant women tend to see changes in their psoriasis. True or False?

A:True. For better or worse, pregnancy may change the intensity or severity of psoriasis in women. While some women have reported that psoriasis has become more severe as a result of pregnancy, others have reported alleviated symptoms.

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Q:What is the most common form of psoriasis?

A:Plaque. Plaque psoriasis is the most common type of psoriasis. Approximately, nine out of 10 people with psoriasis have plaque psoriasis. The following are less common types of psoriasis: Guttate psoriasis: appears as small, salmon-pink (or red) drops on the skin; pustular psoriasis: appears as raised bumps that are filled with pus; inverse psoriasis: appears as bright red, smooth patches in skin folds, and erythrodermic psoriasis: bright red, itchy, peeling inflamed rash that covers most of the body

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