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Psoria…what?

You may have noticed that we mention Psoriasis a lot on this blog, and you might have wondered what exactly are those Ontos people talking about? Glad you asked! Because that is exactly what this post is all about.

Psoriasis is a chronic, autoimmune disease that appears on the skin. Basically, the immune system sends out faulty signals that cause accelerated growth in skin cells. A normal skin cell matures and then falls off the body in about 28 to 30 days, but a skin cell with Psoriasis takes only 3 or 4 days to mature, and then piles up on top of the skin to form lesions. Psoriasis is also associated with other medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, depression, and psoriatic arthritis.

There are five major types of Psoriasis: Plaque, Guttate, Inverse, Pustular, and Erythrodermic. Plaque is the most common, with about 80 percent of those who have Psoriasis having this type. Raised, inflamed, and red lesions covered in white scales form and are called Plaques. These commonly show up on the elbows, knees, and lower back, but can show up all over the body, even the scalp. Guttate is the next most common type of Psoriasis, and usually shows up in children and young adults. This is characterized by small red drops, often on the trunk and limbs. It is thought that strep throat might be a trigger of Guttate Psoriasis. Inverse is a little different in that it appears in folds of skin, such as the armpits. It also looks smooth and shiny instead of scaly, but is also red, inflamed and tender. Pustular has pus-filled bumps that form on top of already red and inflamed skin. It usually appears in waves; one outbreak will clear up, and another will start the process over again. It can be localized in areas like the hands and feet, or can cover most of the body. It is rare, since less than 5% of those who have Psoriasis have this type. The last type, Erythrodermic, can appear all over the body, and can lead to hospitalization. This is characterized by red, inflamed skin, and the shedding of white sheets of skin instead of smaller flakes. It can cause dehydration, and impair the body’s ability to regulate body temperature.

But how exactly do people get Psoriasis? No one really knows for sure, but there are a few things that scientists have figured out. First, Psoriasis is not contagious. One will not get Psoriasis by coming into contact with someone who already has it. Second, Psoriasis seems to be caused by a combination of genetics and triggers. People can have genes that make them predisposed to Psoriasis, but that does not mean they will necessarily get Psoriasis. It really seems like a person gets Psoriasis only if they have the right combination of genes and an external trigger that sets it off. These triggers can be stress, medication (or by abruptly stopping a medication), illness, or an injury to the skin.

As of yet, there is no cure for Psoriasis. Researchers and the National Psoriasis Foundation actively search for both a cure and more information about the disease. There are multiple options for controlling Psoriasis, including Topicals, Phototherapy, and Systemics. Topicals are applied directly to the skin, and often include Corticosteroids. Ontos’ Noble Formula, which has proven effective in fighting the symptoms of Psoriasis, would be considered Topical medication. Compounding Noble Formula with prescribed corticosteroid, dramatically increases that effectiveness. Phototherapy involves controlled exposure to ultraviolet light on a regular basis. Even the sun can be helpful, but only if sunburns are avoided! Systemics are medications that are taken either in pill, injection or IV form.

Now that you have had a crash course in what Psoriasis is, here are a few websites with great information about this disease (in fact, we used them to check our facts and figures!): The National Psoriasis Foundation at www.psoriasis.org, and the Psoriasis page on the Everyday Health site at www.everydayhealth.com/psoriasis/psoriasis-treatment.aspx. Another good source of information is The American Academy of Dermatoloy, at www.aad.org. We’ve placed links to these websites on the main page of our blog to make them easier to find. These are great resources, and we encourage everyone to get informed about Psoriasis. Feel free to ask us questions too!

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