Psoriasis is a fairly common, chronic skin condition that affects as many as 7.5 million people in the U.S. On a recent episode of Community Health Matters, Rivergate Dermatology and Skin Care Center’s Dr. Keith Loven explained psoriasis symptoms and treatment options. View his segment here.

Psoriasis is a chronic, autoimmune disease that appears on the skin when the immune system sends out faulty signals that speed the growth cycle of skin cells. It can occur on any part of the body and is associated with other serious health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and depression.

Genetics play a major role in whether a person is predisposed for the skin disease. If a child has one parent with the condition, they have a 10 percent chance of developing it, and if a child has two parents with the condition, their chances rise to 50 percent. Psoriasis can be triggered by internal or external factors which vary from person to person and is diagnosable by a dermatologist or healthcare provider.

Common psoriasis symptoms include:

  • Raised, red, inflamed lesions
  • Silvery scaly plaques
  • Small, red, individual spots
  • Dry skin that may crack and bleed
  • Itching, burning or soreness of the skin
  • Pitted nails or separation from the nail bed

Up to 30 percent of individuals with psoriasis also develop psoriatic arthritis, which causes pain, stiffness and swelling of the joints.

It’s important to note psoriasis is not contagious and there is no way to prevent a person from developing the condition. However, there are many effective treatment options available. The best treatment varies by individual and depends on the type of psoriasis, severity and amount of skin affected. A few treatment options include topical treatments, oral or injected medications, phototherapy and alternative medicine.

If you are experiencing symptoms of psoriasis, see your doctor to learn which treatment is best for you. For more information, visit

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Community Health Matters airs on the second Monday of each month at 9:30 a.m. Central Time, with an encore showing on the second Wednesday of the month at 1 p.m Central.