August is Psoriasis Awareness Month. According to the National Institutes of Health, this chronic skin condition affects approximately 7.5 million Americans.
Psoriasis is characterized by itchy red, scaly patches of skin as a result of skin cells multiplying faster than normal. It typically develops around the knees, elbows and scalp, but can also occur on the torso, palms and soles of the feet.
Contrary to popular thinking, psoriasis is not contagious. It is caused by a combination of genetic factors as well as environmental triggers, such as stress, infections and some medications.
While there is no cure, treatments include biologics, systemics, phototherapy, topicals and others.
Psoriasis can also develop into psoriatic arthritis, which causes joint stiffness, pain, tenderness and reduced range of motion.
For more information, visit the National Psoriasis Foundation.