Psoriasis is a non-contagious, genetic skin disease that results when faulty signals in the immune system prompt skin cells to regenerate too quickly, causing red, scaly lesions on the skin. It is now considered an autoimmune disease.
Psoriasis is a lifelong disease like diabetes and hypertension. It typically causes dry, red, scaly lesions that can appear anywhere on the body, including the scalp, trunk, extremities and nails. Common areas involved are the extensor aspects like elbows, knees and the trunk.
Psoriasis is not contagious, that means you cannot catch it from someone else, nor can you give it to someone else, unless of course, they are your children.
The genetic origin means that if one of the parents has psoriasis, children stand a 10 to 25%chance of developing it. If both parents have it the odds for the children increase up to 50%.
The natural course of psoriasis is dotted with periods of waxing and waning. The lesions clear for sometime (called remissions), and, following some triggers, come back again. At times, when a treatment, like potent topical corticosteroids, is withdrawn suddenly, psoriasis may worsen or become generalised. This is known as are bound phenomenon and is something that has to be avoided at all costs.
Psoriasis has no complete cure, but with proper treatment and life style changes, psoriasis can be kept under optimum control and remission so as not to affect the quality of life of the patient.
The absence of a specific cure also means that psoriasis requires life long care and management.
Though there is no cure yet for the disease, recent introduction of new biological therapies has provided a fresh ray of hope for psoriatic patients for a better quality of life ahead. What is unique about biologic treatments is that they pinpoint certain immune responses that are involved in psoriasis, not the entire immune system, thereby creating fewer side effects for the patient and less damage to the immune system as a whole.