This is a disease of red, scaly skin spots that can be itchy and painful. Sometimes it also causes tender, swollen, stiff joints. People who have psoriasis may feel embarrassed and stressed about their disease. Although the causes are still not fully known, psoriasis may be due to genes and abnormal immune system activity. It may be made worse by factors such as stress, weather changes, skin injury, infections, or some drugs. If not treated, psoriasis may remain stable or worsen. But control of psoriasis without treatment is not likely.
Doctors examine psoriasis severity by counting the amount of body covered (body surface area or BSA) and whether certain key regions are involved (such as face, hands/feet, genitals). The effect of psoriasis on your life quality is also important. Psoriasis may be mild if it involves less than 5% BSA, does not involve key regions or has little impact on life quality. Moderate to severe psoriasis involves 5% BSA or more, may affect key body areas or may have high impact on life quality.
- Our research in psoriasis:
- Helping patients decide on therapy (patient decision aids)
- New treatments continue to be evaluated in research trials for psoriasis (contact www.wcri.ca for more information).