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What is Psoriasis


About Psoriasis

Psoriasis (suh-rye-uh-sis) is a chronic inflammatory disease that manifests in the skin, joints, and other organs as associated conditions. It is more than a “skin” disease. It is thought to be a chronic inflammatory disease with an autoimmune component . There are five major forms of psoriasis: plaque, guttate, pustular (generalized and localized), inverse, and erythrodermic. Most people living with psoriasis will suffer from one type, but some may be affected by more than one at a time, or during different stages throughout their life. Knowing about psoriasis and being better informed about the effects of psoriasis on those living with it will lead to better disease management and treatment outcomes. Psoriasis is NOT contagious. It is not an infectious disease.

Fast Facts

Psoriasis affects an estimated 1-3% of people in Canada. Psoriasis is NOT contagious. It cannot be passed from one person to another in any way. Most cases of psoriasis can be controlled, and most people who have psoriasis can live normal lives. For some, psoriasis can greatly affect their quality of life and can often be emotionally disabling. Psoriasis can develop at any age, although it is typically seen in adults. The majority experience onset of symptoms between the ages of 15 and 35. People of all races and sexes can get psoriasis. While there is no cure for psoriasis, there is a wide variety of treatment options to control the disease and prevent flare-ups.

Click on a topic below for more details.

How Does Psoriasis Work?

Skin is an organ on its own and is part of a large organ system called the integumentary system. Learn how psoriasis affects this system.

Causes and Risk Factors

Although the exact cause of psoriasis is yet to be found, researchers believe a combination of genetic, environmental, and immune factors may be involved.

Forms of Psoriasis

Read about the various forms of psoriasis.

Symptoms and Severity

Read about symptoms and how the severity of psoriasis is determined.

Associated Conditions

Sometimes, having a chronic illness may increase the risk of developing other chronic conditions. Learn more about these associated conditions, or comorbidities.

Pediatric Psoriasis

Approximately 1% of children are diagnosed with psoriasis although it is widely believed that number is underestimated. Learn more about children and youth with psoriasis.

• Autoimmune diseases occur when your immune system, which normally protects the body against pathogens like bacteria and viruses, launches an attack against your own body.

• In psoriasis, the immune system attacks one’s own skin and joints primarily. In other words, the immune system is “over-reactive” in psoriasis. This results in inflammation.

• The chronic inflammation affects the skin so that the affected person’s skin cells reproduce at a rate 4-7 times faster than normal.

• Inflammation in the joints also leads to swollen and painful joints.