MayoClinic.com Focuses on Treatment Options for Psoriasis

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Psoriasis is a common skin disease that affects the life cycle of skin cells. Normally, new cells take about a month to move from the lowest skin layer where they're produced, to the outermost layer where they die and flake off. With psoriasis, the entire life cycle takes only days. As a result, cells build up rapidly, forming thick silvery scales and itchy, dry, red patches that are sometimes painful. A new feature on MayoClinic.com provides helpful information on treatment options.

According to the National Institutes of Health, as many as 7.5 million Americans have psoriasis. It often appears between the ages of 15 and 25, but can develop at any age. Psoriasis treatments aim to interrupt the cycle that increases production of skin cells, thereby reducing inflammation and plaque formation. A new feature on MayoClinic.com focuses on psoriasis treatment options, including topical treatments, light therapy (phototherapy) and oral medications.

Psoriasis is a common skin disease that affects the life cycle of skin cells. Normally, new cells take about a month to move from the lowest skin layer where they're produced, to the outermost layer where they die and flake off. With psoriasis, the entire life cycle takes only days. As a result, cells build up rapidly, forming thick silvery scales and itchy, dry, red patches that are sometimes painful.

Topical Treatments:
Used alone, creams and ointments applied to skin can effectively treat mild to moderate psoriasis. When skin disease is more severe, creams are likely to be combined with oral medications or phototherapy.

Light Therapy (Phototherapy):
As the name suggests, this psoriasis treatment uses natural or artificial light. The simplest and easiest form of phototherapy involves exposing the skin to controlled amounts of natural sunlight. Other forms of light therapy include using artificial ultraviolet A (UVA) or ultraviolet B (UVB) light, either alone or in combination with medications.

Oral Medications:
Severe psoriasis, or psoriasis that resists other types of treatment, may be treated with oral or injected drugs. Because of severe side effects, some of these medications are used for brief periods and may be alternated with other forms of treatment.

Additionally, Mayo Clinic offers tips on psoriasis self-care. For more information, visit MayoClinic.com.

About MayoClinic.com:
Launched in 1995 and visited more than 13 million times a month, this award-winning Web site offers health information, self-improvement and disease management tools to empower people to manage their health. Produced by a team of Web professionals and medical experts, MayoClinic.com gives users access to the experience and knowledge of the more than 2,500 physicians and scientists of Mayo Clinic. MayoClinic.com offers intuitive, easy-to-use tools such as "Symptom Checker" and "First-Aid Guide" for fast answers about health conditions ranging from common to complex; as well as an A-Z library of more than 850 diseases and conditions; in-depth sections on 24 common diseases and conditions; 16 healthy living areas, including food and nutrition, recipes, fitness and weight control, videos, animations and features such as "Ask a Specialist" and "Drug Watch." Users can sign up for a free weekly e-newsletter called "Housecall," which provides the latest health information from Mayo Clinic. For more information, visit http://www.mayoclinic.com.

To obtain the latest news releases from Mayo Clinic, go to http://www.mayoclinic.org/news. MayoClinic.com (http://www.mayoclinic.com) is available as a resource for health stories.

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Ginger Plumbo
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