The month of August is used to raise awareness about a disease that affects 7.5 million Americans. This disease is Psoriasis.

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that usually appears on the skin as painful, raised, itchy red patches. The chronic disease typically affects the outside of the elbows, knees or scalp, though it can appear on any location.

While it is unknown what causes psoriasis, it is known that genetics play a major factor, as roughly one-third of people with psoriasis have a family member with the disease.

The disease often develops between the ages of 15 and 35 but can affect anyone at any age. There are no tests or special tools to diagnose this issue. To determine if you have Psoriasis, you must go to a dermatologist to examine the area of skin that you think is infected. If the doctor diagnosis you, there are five different types of psoriasis:

  • Plaque Psoriasis – This is the most common form of the disease and appears as raised, red patches covered with a silvery white buildup of dead skin cells, usually on the scalp, knees, elbows, or lower back. They can be itchy, painful, or crack.
  • Guttate – The second most common type appears as small, dot-like lesions, and tends to starts in childhood or young adulthood. Guttate is believed to be affiliated with a strep infection. About 10 percent of people who get psoriasis develop guttate psoriasis.
  • Inverse – Appears as very red lesions in body folds, like under the arm or behind the knee. The lesions could appear smooth and shiny.
  • Pustular – This type appears as white pustules, or blisters, surrounded by red skin. It is not an infection, nor is it contagious. Tends to show up most often on the hands or feet.
  • Erythrodermic - A severe form of psoriasis that leads to widespread, fiery redness over most of the body. It can cause severe itching and pain, and make the skin come off in sheets. It generally appears on people who have unstable plaque psoriasis but is very rare.

1    After diagnosis, your physician will recommend a treatment plan. It is important to treat Psoriasis as soon as possible. Treatment plans include injection or infusion of Biologics, an oral treatment, phototherapy, or topical treatment. If you believe a loved one or yourself may have psoriasis, contact a dermatologist or your health care provider.

To show your support for Psoriasis Awareness you can wear or decorate with purple and orange Awareness PinsRibbons, or Bows. You can also show your support by participating in a marathon, race, or walk in your area.