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Psoriasis History, Treatment and Prevention Research Paper

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Updated: Apr 8th, 2020

I would like to start with a brief explanation regarding why I have decided to write my research paper on the topic of psoriasis. Firstly, I chose it because my mother was diagnosed with that skin condition last year.

Although she has tried many professors best of their majors back in my home country, Turkey, she still can not get rid of it completely. Secondly, I also have symptoms of the disease, especially when the seasons change. Finally, according to my research, psoriasis is a common skin disease in the USA as well. All of this makes me want to learn more about this medical condition.

To complete my research paper, I have analyzed many resources, both databases online and GRC library. Even more, I have also talked to several dermatologists. The results of my research are presented below. In this paper, the one can find the definition of psoriasis, the causes of the illness, the ways to cope with it and the methods of prevention.

I believe, this paper will provide people with valuable knowledge of a common skin disease that often can be mistreated or wrong diagnosed (as in my mother’s case and mine as well).

The Definition of Psoriasis

Psoriasis (PS) can be defined as a long-lasting (usually chronic) dermatosis, which causes excessive growth of skin cells and leads “to a buildup of dead cells on the surface of the epidermis” (“How psoriasis develops” par. 1). Those cells form patches of irregular form, which have red or pink color and often dry, itching and painful. Occasionally, the symptoms of PS get better or worse, depending on the seasons change, patient’s strength of immunity, etc.

So far, there is not any cure that can guarantee a complete recovery. However, there are many methods of treatment, which can improve general symptoms, stop skin cells from excessive growth and bring relief to a patient.

A Brief History of the Disease

The first mention of symptoms close to psoriasis was in ancient Greece, although these were not called psoriasis (Penzer and Ersser 121). The term firstly appeared in the 18th century when dermatologist described psoriasis as “dry and scary lesions” (Penzer and Ersser 121). A century later psoriasis was recognized as a unique illness. In the 20th century, different types of the disease were distinguished (Penzer and Ersser 122).

However, both then and now psoriasis is frequently mistaken for other types of dermatosis. That is because it is hardly possible to be sure that a patient has psoriasis only by looking at the patches on the skin. A detailed examination of the patient, including a biopsy of affected skin areas, is necessary to establish the correct diagnosis.

Who Gets Psoriasis?

According to Freiman and Barankin, approximately 2-3% of the population are diagnosed with PS (1). An average age of a patient who gets psoriasis at the first time is thirty (Penzer and Ersser 122). As for the gender, both men and women are equally likely to have PS.

The most important fact is that psoriasis is not contagious. That is something that I have already known before starting my research. It is imperative to inform patients about it, so they will not worry about infecting people from their surroundings.

However, if that is true, then how can people get psoriasis?

Is PS genetically transferred?

From the very beginning of my research, I have been wondering if psoriasis is a genetic disease or not. Is it a coincidence that both my mother and I are diagnosed with the same disease? As McElwain claims, approximately one-third of people who have PS also have a parent, brother or sister with the same skin condition (par. 1). However, a genetic issue is not fully investigated. For example, identical or fraternal twins very commonly, but not necessarily always, share psoriasis (McElwain par. 9). This fact means that PS is only partly genetic.

Even worse, the studies show that more than one gene may be controlling psoriasis: “scientists have found that at least nine different parts of seven separate chromosomes” are involved (McElwain par. 15).

Finally, here is the most interesting part. If PS is not contagious and only partly genetic, how can a person get it in the first place? The answer is simple – scientists do not know yet. All they can assert is that both genetics and environment play their roles in PS development.

Psoriasis Treatment

The process of treatment depends on many factors. The first one is disease severity. PS can be mild, moderate and severe. The first type is when less than 3% of the body is covered with psoriasis (“About Psoriasis” par. 25). It can be treated with the help of moisturizers and creams, including over-the-counter ones.

Moderate psoriasis affects from three to ten percent of the body, and severe PS covers even more than that (“About Psoriasis” par. 24). To treat moderate and severe psoriasis, the combination of different methods is necessary. Besides moisturizers and creams, dermatologists can also prescribe oral medications, like biologic drugs, and phototherapy, which is considered as the most efficient method of treatment nowadays.

Another factor, which the process of treatment depends on, is the type of PS. There are five of them: plaque (raised red-and-white patches), guttate (small, flat, dot-like lesions), inverse (pink and smooth lesions large in diameter), pustular (red lesions with white pustules) and erythrodermic (fiery red patches that cover most of the body) (“About Psoriasis” par. 10).

Note that only a dermatologist can diagnose an individual with psoriasis and determine what type of PS he or she has. Besides, many people can have different types of PS on various parts of the body. Therefore, consultation with a specialist is necessary. Self-medication will lead to serious consequences, including escalation of a disease, and replacing one type of PS with another, more severe one.

Can Psoriasis Be Prevented?

From the very beginning, I was interested in this question. Can individuals somehow protect themselves from psoriasis development? The answer is negative – PS can not be prevented. However, people who are already diagnosed with that skin condition can prevent PS flare-ups or make those less severe. For this purpose, they should regularly moisturize their skin, abandon different perfumes and dyes, avoid too hot showers and bath, live a healthy life and stick to a diet determined by a specialist (“Can Psoriasis Be Prevented?” par. 1).

To conclude, I want to highlight the most important from my point of view things. Those are: psoriasis is not contagious and only partly genetic; the causes of the disease are not fully investigated; it is impossible for people who have never had this disease to protect themselves from its development; and finally, if a person has any symptoms of PS they should immediately see a dermatologist since self-medication is unacceptable.

Works Cited

, 2015.

Can Psoriasis Be Prevented? 2015

Freiman, Anatoli and Benjamin Barankin. “Psoriasis.” Canadian Medical Association Journal 185.3 (2013): 1. Print.

, 2015.

McElwain, Mark. 2009.

Penzer, Rebecca and Steven J. Ersser. Principles of Skin Care: A Guide for Nurses and Other Health Care Professionals, Chichester, United Kingdom: Wiley‐Blackwell, 2010. Print.

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