Medical Specialties: Dermatology, Family practice

Clinical Definition

Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease associated with inflamed skin lesions. These inflamed skin lesions are covered with silver-white scabs of dead skin scales.

In Our Own Words

Psoriasis is a condition that affects millions of Americans and can take on many different forms. Plaque psoriasis is the most common, and raised red skin lesions covered with itchy, silvery scales characterize this condition. Scalp psoriasis is another common form. Other types include guttate psoriasis, pustular psoriasis and inverse psoriasis, just to name a few. Treatment varies according to disease severity and includes topical agents, as well as systemic therapies.

Ten percent of people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis, involving inflamed joints and other symptoms. Increasing amounts of evidence support the notion that psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease associated with many other conditions – not just a skin disease. These health conditions include metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart disease, depression and Parkinson’s disease. 

Relevant Conditions
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Depression
Common Types
  • Plaque psoriasis
  • Nail psoriasis
  • Scalp psoriasis
  • Psoriasis arthritis
Side Effects
  • Red, flaky and/or silvery skin patches
  • Tight, cracked and/or bleeding skin
  • Thick, pitted or ridged nails
  • Patches of itchy and scaly skin
Share this article
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Psoriasis.” Updated February 2013. Accessed August 2013
  • American Academy of Dermatology. “Psoriasis.” Accessed August 2013.
  • Cleveland Clinic. “Psoriasis: An Overview.” Updated August 2012. Accessed August 2013.
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