LIVING WITH Psoriasis

IMPORTANT: The purpose of this page is to provide information on the skin condition psoriasis, not to provide medical advice.  Content was sourced from The Australasian College of Dermatologists. Links on this page to other sites on the Internet are provided for the benefit of site users and do not constitute medical advice, an endorsement of any other organisation /company or of their products or treatments.

What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis a skin disease marked by red, itchy, scaly patches. It is not contagious.

According to the Australasian College of Dermatologists, about 50% of people affected with psoriasis have changes to their nails and about 25% of people have pain, swelling and tenderness of their joints. The College defines psoriasis as a lifelong skin condition characterised by the development of red scaly areas of skin.

What are the symptoms?

  • red scaly areas of skin
  • itchiness and flaking of the skin
  • changes to nails, making them more brittle
  • pain, swelling and tenderness of joints.

Who suffers from psoriasis?

  • Psoriasis can develop at any age. It usually starts in young adults in their early 30s, with 75% of affected people developing psoriasis before the age of 45 years.
  • Psoriasis is more common in people who have relatives with psoriasis.
  • It affects all racial groups and affects about 2% of people worldwide.

What causes psoriasis?

The exact cause of psoriasis is unknown. The Australasian College of Dermatologists website states:

“It is thought that psoriasis develops in people who have an inherited tendency for the immune system in their skin to react abnormally to certain environmental conditions.”

  • Psoriasis may be triggered for the first time by infections such as streptococcal tonsillitis, HIV and other viral infections.
  • It can also be triggered by by severe emotional stress.
  • Smoking and excessive alcohol intake may worsen the condition.
  • Some medications may trigger psoriasis or cause psoriasis to become more severe.

(The Australasian College of Dermatologists, http://www.dermcoll.edu.au/atoz/psoriasis, accessed 16 July 2015.)

How can the symptoms be relieved?

These are some general environmental measures stated on The Australasian College of Dermatologists website:

  • Apply moisturiser to all of the skin every day. It is important to maintain skin hydration and barrier function.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol intake.
  • Avoid excess weight gain.
  • Improve your diet and exercise regularly for good health.

Further reading for PEOPLE LIVING WITH psoriasis

The Australasian College of Dermatologists

The Australasian College of Dermatologists was established in 1966 as the medical college responsible for the training and professional development of medical practitioners in the speciality of dermatology. Visit www.dermcoll.edu.au/atoz/psoriasis/to learn more about psoriasis.

The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy

The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) is the peak professional body of clinical immunology and allergy specialists in Australia and New Zealand. Visit www.allergy.org.au to learn more.

The purpose of this page is to provide information on skin conditions, not to provide medical advice.  Content was sourced from The Eczema Association of Australasia Inc. Links on this page to other sites on the Internet are provided for the benefit of site users and do not constitute medical advice, an endorsement of any other organisation /company or of their products or treatments.