Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Education Center
Psoriasis is a chronic, autoimmune disease that appears on the skin. It occurs when the immune system sends out faulty signals that speed up the growth cycle of skin cells. Psoriasis is not contagious.
There are five types of psoriasis. The most common form, plaque psoriasis, appears as raised, red patches covered with a silvery white buildup of dead skin cells. Psoriasis can occur on any part of the body and is associated with other serious health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and depression.
Psoriasis is the most common autoimmune disease in the U.S. As many as 7.5 million Americans have psoriasis.
Up to 30 percent of people with psoriasis also develop psoriatic arthritis, which causes pain, stiffness and swelling in and around the joints.
Psoriatic arthritis can develop at any time, but it most commonly appears between the ages of 30 and 50. Genes, the immune system and environmental factors are all believed to play a role in the onset of the disease.
Early recognition, diagnosis and treatment of psoriatic arthritis are critical to relieve pain and inflammation and help prevent progressive joint damage.
Accessing Health Care
As with most chronic, autoimmune diseases, psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis require ongoing treatment. In order to best manage your condition, it is important to see a doctor regularly who specializes in treating psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis.
Navigating the health care system and applying for disability are not always easy, so we've compiled this resources for you to help you access the care you need to get—and stay—healthy with a chronic condition.