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What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a chronic (long-term) disease of the immune system. The immune system is the body's defense against infection and disease. When the immune system detects cells that don't belong in the body (bacteria, viruses or foreign cells), it releases cells to attack them. The immune system also helps the body to recover and heal after any illness.

In people with psoriasis, the immune system does not work properly. It attacks healthy cells as well as foreign cells. This attack starts a number of events that make skin cells multiply too quickly, resulting in skin cells "stacking up" on the surface of the skin. This build-up of cells causes scaling on the skin's surface. Inflammation and redness around the scales is common. Sometimes these areas can crack and bleed. Many people can go through cycles of the disease, symptom free for a period of time and then the symptoms come back.

There is currently no cure for psoriasis. Most patients have received a treatment which may have included using a cream/ointment and applying directly to the skin. Newer injectable and oral targeted treatment options are available. More and more patients with psoriasis are able to get control of their symptoms and lead fulfilling lives.

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