Psoriasis: More Than Cosmetic (cont.)

Rarely life-threatening, at its mildest, psoriasis can be itchy and sore. At its worst, it's painful, disfiguring, and debilitating. About two-thirds of the people with psoriasis have a mild form of the disease, says the NPF. About one-third have moderate or severe psoriasis. Psoriasis can affect people at any age, but it most often strikes those between the ages of 15 and 35.

There are five forms of psoriasis. Plaque psoriasis is the most common--affecting 4 out of 5 people who have psoriasis, says the NPF. Plaque psoriasis may start with small red bumps and progress to larger lesions.

The plaques of psoriasis occur most frequently on the elbows, knees, other parts of the legs, scalp, back, face, palms, and soles of the feet. Psoriasis can also affect the fingernails and toenails, causing pitting, discoloration, or tissue buildup around the nails. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, about 15 percent of people with psoriasis also get psoriatic arthritis, which can be progressively disabling if untreated.

For more, please read the Psoriasis article.

Source: Food and Drug Administration, author Linda Bren

Last Editorial Review: 9/22/2004

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