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Psoriasis is a common, chronic, inflammatory skin condition that affects about 2% of the population and varies by race, latitude, and other environmental factors. Men and women are equally affected.
According to studies, the usual age of onset is the 3rd-4th decade of life and about 10-15% of patients develop the disease before the age of 10. In this case, a larger area of the body is affected and the disease responds significantly less to local treatment.
Psoriasis is primarily an immune disease, meaning it is linked to the body's defense system. The latter is "incorrectly" activated in psoriasis, forcing the skin cells to mature and multiply faster and then accumulate in its upper layers, creating the so-called psoriasis "plaques". The cells of the immune system (T-lymphocytes) reach the bloodstream at some point in the skin, create a local inflammation, and with the substances they produce disrupt the normal cycle of skin cells.
Genetic factors also play an important role, as 1/3 of patients have a positive family history, with one or more family members suffering from some form of psoriasis. However, psoriasis does not follow a standard pattern of inheritance, such as eye color or height, which means that it is not necessary for a patient's child to develop psoriasis. Also, it is not certain that someone with the psoriasis gene will develop psoriasis.
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