What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a common, chronic, potentially disfiguring disease that affects more than 1.8 million people in the UK and over 100 million worldwide.  It causes considerable psychological and social disability with the majority of people with psoriasis feeling stigmatised by their condition.

Psoriasis can occur on any area of the body, at any age. It most commonly affects the scalp, knees, elbows and torso and is equally common in men and women.

As well as the psychological issues that are associated with psoriasis, patients are also at risk of developing other co-morbid disease. Up to 30% of people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis (an inflammatory arthritis that causes pain and swelling in the joints). Patients are also at risk of developing co-morbidities such as metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disorders, anxiety and depression, Crohn’s disease, and lymphoma.

The most common form of psoriasis is plaque psoriasis which develops in around 90% of people with psoriasis. Other forms of psoriasis also exist: guttate, inverse, pustular and erythrodermic psoriasis.

There are two age ranges when psoriasis typically develops

  • Early onset or Type I psoriasis which develops before the age of 40, which often develops into severe disease
  • Late onset or Type II psoriasis which develops after the age of 40

These are genetically distinct diseases and this has implications on which treatment should be used for each group of patients.

Visit The Psoriasis Association website to find out more about the condition.