Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease that affects millions of Americans. It can affect people of any age, but it occurs mostly in young adults. It can also show up in people in their 50s. Find out more about this disease by taking this quiz, based on information from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases, the American Academy of Dermatology, and the National Psoriasis Foundation.
The normal turnover of skin cells—old cells dying and falling off, new cells rising to the surface—takes about a month. With psoriasis, the process speeds up, occurring in only a few days. This results in patches of thick, red skin covered with silvery scales. These patches (plaques) itch or feel sore. Plaque psoriasis is the most common form, but there are 4 other forms. These are:
The NPF also lists these as possible triggers:
Other medicines that may bring on an outbreak of psoriasis include the antidepressant lithium, medicines for malaria, some heart or blood pressure medicines, and some medicines for arthritis.
Healthcare providers often use a 1-2-3 approach in treating psoriasis. They start with topical treatment. Then they use light therapy, followed by medicine that treats the entire immune system. Topical treatments include:
Phototherapy, in the form of sunlight or an ultraviolet B light box, causes the activated T cells to die. This eases the inflammation and slows the turnover of skin cells. Light therapy also may include the topical medicine psoralen combined with ultraviolet A rays. This combo is called PUVA. For more severe forms of psoriasis, healthcare providers may prescribe medicines that suppress the immune system. These include methotrexate, retinoids, cyclosporine, 6-thioguanine, hydroxyurea, and biologic response modifiers such as etanercept and adilumimab.
For Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts members
Find a Doctor & Estimate Costs
Health & Wellness
Attend a Seminar
Request a Call
Manage Your Account
Plans & Products
Forms & Documents
Tools & Support for Educating Employees
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.® Registered Marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.© 101 Huntington Avenue, Suite 1300, Boston, MA 02199-7611 | 1-800-262-BLUE (2583)
About Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Nondiscrimination and Translation Resources
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is a leading provider of quality health insurance for residents of Massachusetts. Our main goal is to make health care cost-effective by offering health insurance solutions for individuals, families, and large and small businesses at affordable rates.
Our Vision — Making Quality Health Care AffordableOur Promise — To Always Put Our Members First
To learn more about our Massachusetts health plans, please visit our Plans & Products page, where you can compare Massachusetts health insurance plans, buy health plans online, and get Mass health insurance quotes.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts also offers insurance, pharmacy coverage, and Medicare Plans for seniors; life and disability insurance through Indigo Insurance Services (a wholly owned subsidiary); and insurance for individuals aged 18-26 years. Learn more about our other insurance plans and Medicare plans, or contact a sales representative today.