LCHM Summer 2017 - 19

L C M E D S O C .O R G

P

soriasis is a common condition
affecting over 7 million people in
the United States alone. In people
without psoriasis, normal skin cells
cycle over a period of weeks. In people with
psoriasis, however, this cycle occurs over days
instead of weeks. This leads to a build-up of
excess skin cells which the body is unable
to shed. This build-up corresponds with
the scale that is seen on lesions of psoriasis.
Although medical researchers are still working
to figure out the exact cause of psoriasis, it

BY KELLY B. QUINN, DO
is known that some people have genes that
make them more susceptible to developing
psoriasis. It is important to recognize that
psoriasis is not contagious - you cannot
catch psoriasis from someone who has it.
Psoriasis can occur at any age. The most
common and recognizable type of psoriasis
is plaque psoriasis (also known as psoriasis
vulgaris). This type appears as thick, red
plaques with silver scale most commonly
over the scalp, elbows, knees, hands, and

feet. The other less common forms of
psoriasis include inverse psoriasis (occurs in
the skin folds), guttate psoriasis (small, red
spots that appear rapidly all over the body),
erythrodermic psoriasis, pustular psoriasis,
and psoriasis of the nails. Guttate psoriasis is
more common in children and often occurs
after a recent infection. Strep throat is the
most common infection. Erythrodermic and
pustular variants of psoriasis are rare, but may
be severe enough to require hospitalization.
Continued on page 20

SUMMER 2017 | Lehigh County Health & Medicine 19


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