Chronic Itch: Could it be Psoriasis?
Sometimes, an itch is caused by a temporary irritant – a pesky mosquito, an unseen patch of poison ivy, a painful sunburn. Sometimes, the cause is a bit more permanent – like psoriasis, a chronic skin condition characterized by red, flakey, scaly patches.
Chances are, you know someone affected by psoriasis. It affects an estimated 125 million people worldwide — that’s about 2 to 3 percent of the total population!
But, even though so many people are living with psoriasis, the disease is often misunderstood. So let’s take a few minutes to lay out the basic facts…
- Psoriasis is common skin condition that spurs the growth of skin cells, causing them to rapidly accumulate on the skin’s surface.
- These extra cells create thick, silvery scales and dry, red patches that are usually itchy and sometimes painful.
- Psoriasis is a chronic, often cyclical, disease. That means there may be periods where psoriasis symptoms improve, along with periods where they worsen.
- The cause of psoriasis isn’t fully known, but modern science classifies it as a type of glitch in the immune system.
- Psoriasis is NOT contagious, but is thought to be genetically linked.
While there’s no known cure for psoriasis, treatment options (both over-the-counter and prescription) can help slow skin cell growth, improve symptoms and offer significant itching relief. If you’re plagued by a long-lasting, recurring and/or painful itch, considering speaking with your doc to determine if psoriasis may be the culprit.