Psoriasis is a chronic, recurrent skin disease characterised by discrete, bright red patches covered with silvery scales.
The cell production in psoriasis has malfunctioned so the psoriasis sufferer develops cells much more quickly than a person without psoriasis.
The rapid production of the psoriasis cell results in an abnormal cell being produced which appears different and does not offer the same protective functions as the normal cells of the skin. Psoriasis most commonly affects the scalp, trunk, knees and elbows. The nails are also commonly affected developing a pitted appearance and flaking at the free edge.
History of Psoriasis
Although the name psoriasis was not introduced for many years the actual condition of psoriasis was first talked of by the Greek Physician, Hippocrates who lived between 460 and 377 BC. The condition has indeed been around for a long time, with our current knowledge evolving over hundreds of years.
Psoriasis was again mentioned in the first century by Cornelius celsus, a Roman author. Celsus described it as the fourth variant of impetigo, a condition caused by staphlococcus pyogenes. This condition appears as red patches with watery blisters on the skin.
Joseph Jacob Plenck (Vienna 1776) wrote of Psoriasis as being amongst the group of desquamative (scaly or scale like) diseases. He did not delve further to differentiate it from other dermatological conditions.
The English dermatologist, Robert Willan (1757 – 1812) recognised psoriasis as an independent disease. He identified two categories. Leprosa Graecorum was the term he used to describe the condition when the skin had scales. Psora Leprosa described the condition when it became eruptive.
In 1841 Ferdinand Hebra, a Viennese dermatologist worked on Willan’s notes and was the first to ascribe the name ‘psoriasis’. It was Hebra who described the clinical picture of psoriasis that is used today. The hereditary factor of psoriasis had already been established by this time.