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Psoriasis Symptoms & Treatment: Dermatologist Shares How To Treat Dry, Itchy, Flaky, Patchy Skin

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Remember our surprising stats on just how many people suffer from Psoriasis in the US? Well, we caught up with Dr. J. Mark Jackson, board certified dermatologist, to pick his expert brain on this skin condition. 

Check out the doctor's answers to our basic questions on the symptoms and how to treat psoriasis below:

What triggers psoriasis? Is it hereditary? Based on diet, lifestyle?

Psoriasis is a chronic, autoimmune inflammatory disease that appears on the skin, occurring when the immune system sends out signals that speed up the growth cycle of skin cells.

Triggers for psoriasis vary from person to person and not all triggers have been fully identified, but they can include stress, skin injury (including scratching, bug bites, scrapes and bruises or burns) and medications. 

Although the cause of psoriasis is not fully known, the scientific community generally agrees that there may be a genetic link for some patients.

What are the typical symptoms for someone who is not diagnosed?

Symptoms of psoriasis can vary from person to person and may also be based on the type of psoriasis a person has. Common symptoms include: red patches of skin covered with silvery scales, small spots of scaling, dry, cracked skin that may bleed, itching, burning or pain, and thickened, pitted or ridged nails. Symptoms often appear on elbows, knees and scalp. Psoriasis often occurs in cycles, flaring for a period of time and then subsiding.

How does psoriasis trigger or lead to other diseases?

As many as 30% of people with psoriasis will eventually develop psoriatic arthritis. Patients may experience skin symptoms for 10+ years before the onset of joint symptoms.

Additionally, psoriasis may also elevate the risk of a handful of other serious health conditions including cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, cancer and other immune-mediated inflammatory diseases such as Crohn's disease and multiple sclerosis.

Look out tomorrow for D. Jackson's tips on how to minimize the symptoms of psoriasis and how to treat psoriatic arthritis Monday!

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