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Psoriasis is a serious, chronic, relapsing skin ailment in which involved skin areas produce silvery scales. The areas usually affected are the skins of the elbows, knees, back, buttocks, and scalp. The lesions are large red plaques covered with overlapping, shiny, scales, which are shed continuously. It is estimated that 5 million people in the U.S are troubled with psoriasis. In about ½ - million, the disease is servere. In some cases there is an association arthritis affecting the joint of your fingers, toes, and your spine.

The cause of psoriasis is vague. It appears that heredity is a factor in about one case out of three. That alteration in the skin is an overproduction of cells in the epidermis. The cells composing this surface layer of the skin are normally shed at such a rate that average cell life is about twenty-eight days. In psoriasis the cells are produced and shed in only three or four days. Modern treatments use strong chemicals substances, which inhibit production of new cells. The ordinary preparations at the pharmacy are usually not effective. Acute attacks of psoriasis usually spontaneously, but may recur.

The best treatments bring only relief; no method assures a complete cure. The National Psoriasis Foundation, with headquarters Suite 250, 6145 SW Canyon Court, Portland, Oregon 97221, has literature available for those who make request.

What to Do

1. Give attention to building up and maintaining the patient’s general health with adequate rest; a simple, nutritious diet; a program of conservative outdoor recreation; and a mental attitude of confidence and courage.
2. Each day remove the scales from the affective skin areas by using soap and water and a soft brush; then apply an ointment such as the doctor may prescribe.
3. For more server, obstinate cases, consult a dermatologist. He may recommend ONE medications such as the antimetabolites or systemic corticosteroids. These often produce troublesome side affects, and their use must be constantly supervised.