By: Daniel Haight, MD
Wednesday, August 28 2013
A person might ask, “What are these spots on my skin?” or feel embarrassed if others stare and think they are contagious. (They are not.)
The spots are often much larger than the size of a coin, raised up, flat on top, pink and sometimes scaly. These scales can sometimes make the area appear silvery. They are often itchy, can feel sore and can sometimes bleed. Patches may show up on the scalp, knees, elbows, hands and feet.
These are the last few days of psoriasis awareness month and this chronic inflammation (irritation) of the skin that affects over 7 million people in the United States.
The skin disease, psoriasis, can reveal itself in many ways and can look slightly different from what is described above.
This disease can also affect the inside of the body with mouth sores or arthritis and is sometimes, although rarely, associated with belly pain (inflammatory bowel disease) and a higher chance of heart disease.
This disease is caused by your own immune system irritating your skin and there are a variety of treatments.
As with any serious chronic disease, also consider the stress and emotional strain a skin disorder might have on a person. Depression is common among those dealing with psoriasis, but that too can be helped by meeting with a trained professional.
Ask your primary care physician if you have a rash that won’t go away.