Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease marked by periodic flare-ups of sharply defined red patches covered by a silvery, flaky surface. In psoriasis, the epidermal cell cycle is accelerated. Cell division in the basal layer occurs every 1.5 days and the migration of keratinocytes to the stratum corneum occurs within just four days or so. Since the cells move to the surface so rapidly, they do not differentiate and mature properly. The stratum corneum is not fully keratinized, and epidermal cells build up abnormally and become scaly. The epidermis in psoriatic lesions is three to five times thicker than normal.
Psoriasis is a single disease with several forms of expression and a range of severity. The form that psoriasis takes in an individual person likely depends on genetic influences, environmental factors (e.g., traumatic and climate), associated diseases (especially infections), medications, and the status of the immune system.
The exact cause of psoriasis is unknown, but it is thought that the primary process lies in the immune system with significant input from environmental factors. This is a focus of research for new treatments.
The primary goals of care are control of the lesions, minimization of side effects from treatment, and improvement in quality of life. Current treatment utilizes a variety of topical medications as well as ultraviolet light therapy.
The Medifocus Guide on Psoriasis provides answers to the following important questions and medical issues:
What are the most common symptoms of psoriasis?
Are there any recognized risk factors for developing psoriasis?
What kinds of medical tests are used to establish the diagnosis of psoriasis?
What is the current standard of care for the treatment of psoriasis?
What treatment options are available for the management of psoriasis?
Are there any promising new developments or potential breakthroughs in treatment?
Who are the most notable medical authorities who specialize in psoriasis?
Where are the leading hospitals and centers of research for psoriasis?
What are the most important questions to ask my doctor about psoriasis?
What Your Doctor Reads:
This MediFocus Guide contains an extensive listing of citations and abstracts of recent journal articles that have been published about this condition in trustworthy medical journals. This is the same type of information that is available to physicians and other health care professionals. A partial selection of journal articles that are abstracted in this MediFocus Guide includes:
Better patient compliance in psoriasis. Practitioner. 2000
HIV-associated psoriasis. AIDS Patient Care & STDS. 2000
Psoriasis. Primary Care; Clinics in Office Practice. 2000
Interventions for guttate psoriasis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews [computer file]. 2000
Treatment of psoriasis at the Dead Sea: why, how and when?. Israel Medical Association Journal: IMAJ. 2000
Therapeutic strategies for psoriasis. Journal of Clinical Pharmacy & Therapeutics. 2000
Pathophysiology and treatment of psoriasis. American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy. 2000
Update on psoriasis therapy: a perspective from the USA. Keio Journal of Medicine. 2000
Psoriasis, lichen planus, and disorders of keratinization: unapproved treatments or indications. Clinics in Dermatology. 2000
Alcohol, smoking and psoriasis. Clinical & Experimental Dermatology. 2000
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