Psoriasis Awareness Month is a public health and awareness campaign sponsored by the National Psoriasis Foundation for educating the public, raising awareness and dispelling myths about the disease. Psoriasis is a chronic, non-contagious, genetic autoimmune disease that causes red, scaly patches on the skin. It can also crack, itch and bleed. It is actually the most common among all the autoimmune diseases in the United States and it affects approximately 7.5 million people in the US.
Up to 1/3 of those with psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis which is a type of arthritis that is inflammatory. It causes pain and swelling of the joints along with the tendons. Take note that people suffering only from mild psoriasis are just as likely to develop psoriatic arthritis.
Genetics and the immune system of a person play a vital role in the development of the disease. In those with psoriasis, the immune system sends abnormal signals that significantly accelerate the growth process of the skin cells. A person needs to have a combination of certain genes that cause psoriasis along with exposure to external triggers like skin injury, stress, smoking and infections. There is still no cure for psoriasis but a variety of treatment options are available. It is important to take note that treatment is individualized depending on the type of psoriasis, its severity and how the person reacts to certain treatments.