An estimated 7.5 million people in the U.S. live with psoriasis, making it one of the most common immune-mediated disorders in the country. Immune-mediated conditions occur when overactive immune cells attack normal cells within the body, causing inflammation. In the case of psoriasis, this manifests as a rash, which most often appears as raised red or silvery scales, or plaques, on the skin—but the rash can also present as small white pustules or shiny smooth lesions in more rare forms of the disease.
“Despite the chronic nature of psoriasis, there’s no reason for anyone to suffer,” says Lawrence Green, M.D., clinical professor of dermatology at George Washington University School of Medicine. “There are many effective treatments, and delaying care can lead to other serious conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and depression.”
Below, learn everything you need to know about psoriasis, from types and causes to diagnosis and available treatments.