12 Terms You May Hear When Living with Psoriasis

Eileen Bailey | Oct 1st 2013 Apr 10th 2017

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Autoimmune disease

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease. This is when your body’s immune system - your natural defense against infection - mistakenly attacks your body’s own cells. Autoimmune disease are more common in women than in men. Having one autoimmune disease may increase your risk for developing other autoimmune diseases.

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Chronic

A chronic condition is one that lasts more than three months or has frequent recurrences. Psoriasis is considered a chronic condition.

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Cutaneous

Cutaneous is a term that refers to anything related to the skin.

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Dermatologist

Physicians who specialize in diseases and conditions affecting the skin are dermatologists. In addition to their general medical training, they receive specialized training in identifying, diagnosing and treating skin conditions and skin cancer.

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Lesion

A lesion of the skin is a change in the skin’s structure, caused by injury or disease. Lesions range from harmless (a cut or scratch) to serious (skin cancer).

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Plaque

A psoriasis plaque is a build-up and thickening of skin cells, causing a raised, red, scaly patch. Plaques are most often found on elbows, knees and the trunk. About 80 percent of those with psoriasis have plaque psoriasis.

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Phototherapy

Psoriasis is sometimes treated with phototherapy, which is using either natural or artificial UV light to reduce symptoms of psoriasis.

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Pus

Pus is a thick, yellowish-white liquid that is found in blisters or cuts which have become infected. It is made up of white blood cells, liquefied tissue and cellular debris.

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Scaling

Scaling occurs on psoriasis plaques. It is the thin, flaky layer of dead skin at the top of the plaque. Scaling can occur without plaques as well.

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Topical Medications

A number of psoriasis treatments include topical medications. These are creams, ointments or other solutions that are applied externally on your skin. Some topical treatments can be bought over-the-counter while others must be prescribed by your doctor.

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Strep Throat

Strep throat is a bacterial infection of the throat. It sometimes triggers the onset of psoriasis.

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Trigger

Psoriasis outbreaks can be triggered by certain events. For example, some people develop psoriasis after having strep throat. Stress is also considered a trigger for psoriasis flare-ups.