ID: 106
Category: Autoimmune Disease
CreatedBy: 1
UpdatedBy: 1
createdon: 16 Jan 2023
updatedon: 19 Jun 2023

For Bots

Author: Khoa Tran
Published Jan 16, 2023
Updated Jun 19, 2023

Table of contents

Suggest changes


Etymology and Pronunciation

Psoriasis (suh-RYE-uh-sis)
psora - Greek for "itch"

History of Psoriasis

In ancient Greece, psoriasis was referred to as "lepra" or "psora" which means "itch" or "scratch". The Greek physician Hippocrates, who is often referred to as the father of modern medicine, described the condition in his medical writings and recommended the use of various herbal remedies to treat it.

In the centuries that followed, physicians continued to describe and treat psoriasis using a variety of methods, including the use of topical ointments, sun exposure, and diet modifications. However, it was not until the late 19th century that psoriasis was recognized as a distinct medical condition.

In 1841, the Austrian dermatologist Ferdinand von Hebra coined the term "psoriasis" to describe the condition, which he distinguished from other skin conditions such as eczema and seborrhea. Von Hebra also identified several subtypes of psoriasis and recommended the use of topical treatments such as tar and salicylic acid.

In the years that followed, advances in medical research and technology led to a better understanding of the underlying causes of psoriasis, including genetics and immune system dysfunction. This knowledge has helped pave the way for the development of new and more effective treatments for the condition, including biologic medications that target specific immune system pathways.

Modern Understanding of Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that affects approximately 2-3% of the world population. It is characterized by the appearance of thick, red, scaly patches on the skin, known as plaques. These plaques can cause itching, burning, and redness.

Psoriasis can affect any part of the body, but it most often occurs on the scalp, elbows, knees, lower back, and nails. The exact cause of psoriasis is not known, but it is believed to be related to an immune system problem.

Causes of Psoriasis

It is caused by cells building up rapidly on the surface of the skin. These extra skin cells form scales and red patches that are sometimes itchy and painful. The most common type of psoriasis is called plaque psoriasis, which appears as raised, red patches covered with a silvery white buildup of dead skin cells.

The underlying cause of psoriasis is believed to be a dysfunction in the immune system, specifically the overactive T-cells. This leads to inflammation and rapid turnover of skin cells, causing the buildup of the characteristic plaques.

There are several factors that can trigger psoriasis outbreaks, including stress, infections, alcohol consumption, smoking, and obesity. Some people may also have a family history of the condition.

In severe cases, psoriasis can also cause joint pain, leading to a related condition known as psoriatic arthritis. Nail changes, such as pitting or discoloration, may also occur in those with psoriasis.

Treatments for Psoriasis

Treatment for psoriasis typically involves a combination of topical treatments, such as moisturizers, coal tar, calcipotriene, and topical corticosteroids, as well as light therapy (phototherapy). For those with more severe cases, systemic medications such as methotrexate, cyclosporine, and biologic medications such as etanercept, infliximab, adalimumab, and ustekinumab may also be used.

It's important for those with psoriasis to work closely with their healthcare provider to determine the best treatment plan for their individual needs. By properly managing the condition, those with psoriasis can often reduce outbreaks and improve their quality of life.


Patchy rash
Skin itchiness

Confirmation Tests

- Physical examination
- Skin biopsy

Similar Conditions