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Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis: The Words You Should Know

Medically reviewed by Debra Sullivan, PhD, MSN, RN, CNE, COI on February 1, 2017Written by Brian Krans

 

What's more challenging than having psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis? Learning the jargon linked to these conditions. Don't worry: we're here to help.

Read on for a list of these words and to find out what they mean. Now there's no need to fret—or flare up—when you come across another term.

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Snowfall

The resulting effect of giving into the itchy sensation of scalp psoriasis and white, flaky remnants of scalp psoriasis plaques fall to your shoulders.

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Contagious

It's not. Settle down, people.

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Red patches

The color of the inflamed, itchy growths that are the trademark of psoriasis.

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Patches

The red, inflamed sections of skin where psoriasis manifests itself. Common areas where patches occur include the face, elbows, knees, torso, scalp, and folds of skin.

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Lotion

Your new best friend, and something you'll be applying after every shower like a religious ceremony.

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Itchy

Another wonderful symptom of skin psoriasis. While it may feel temporarily good to scratch those itchy areas, it can often make things worse, potentially increasing the likelihood of infection.

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Folds

Places in your skin where psoriasis likes to strike, namely the armpits, groin, and face.

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Black clothing

A brave choice of color to wear.

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Irritated

A common feeling for many people with psoriasis.

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Awkward

How the condition can make you feel, especially during times when baring skin is expected -- for instance, at the beach or in the bedroom.

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Angel dust

You leave a blessing everywhere you go.

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Scalp

The skin on top of your head that psoriasis loves to attack. Thankfully, medicated shampoos can take care of this pretty easily.

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Winter

Typically the worst season for psoriasis. The dry air can make symptoms worse.

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Rapid

The fast rate at which your new skin cells grow. What takes most people a few weeks to grow, a person with psoriasis can crank out in a few days.

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Scales

The white flakes of dead skin cells that accumulate because your body generates new skin cells at an accelerated rate.

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Dry

How your skin normally feels with psoriasis. Dry weather can also make your psoriasis worse.

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Smoking

A major contributer to psoriasis and flare-ups. Your doctor has already told you to quit, and today is a good day to start.

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Burning

A feeling you'll get on your skin with psoriasis and in your joints with psoriatic arthritis. Don't fret: many treatments can get rid of this.

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Tongue gunk

An extra layer of film that covers your tongue when you're experiencing inflammation.

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Pitting

Small dents and grooves that can form on the fingernails as a result of psoriasis.

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Epsom

A wonderful addition to your bathwater that can help soften troublesome plaques and ease inflamed joints.

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Flare-ups

Times when symptoms of psoriasis become increasingly worse. Flare-ups can be cause by stress, dry air, medications, illness, injury, smoking, alcohol, and not enough or too little sunlight.

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Triggers

Substances and circumstances that can make psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis worse. Avoidable triggers include alcohol, dry weather, sunburn, stress, beta-blocker medications, infections, and skin injuries like cuts or scratches.

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Immunosuppressant

A type of drug therapy that dampens your immune system to prevent it from overreacting and attacking healhy tissue.

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Autoimmune disorder

A condition in which your immune system -- the part that keeps you healthy -gets confused, attacking and destroying healthy tissue by mistake.

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Character building

You've been embarrassed, picked on, and tormented by your psoriasis, but it has helped shape you into the person you are today.

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Keep-going

Something to tell yourself everyday, no matter how bad symptoms get.

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Feeling blue

This is how you can feel when dealing with the disorder, whether it's the physical signs or the pain from arthritis. Depression is a common side effect of psoriasis.

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Steroids

Not the kind used by jocks, but steroids -- especially topical ones -- are a first line of defense for people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

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NSAIDs

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are a class of drugs used to treat psoriatic arthritis. They include diclofenac, ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, and oxaprozin.

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Arthur

Arthritis sounds much nicer with this pet name!

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Fatigue

Sore, stiff joints take a toll on your body. You frequently need to rest.

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Brain fog

When your arthritis symptoms cause you to lose your train of thought.

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Psoriatic arthritis

A type of arthritis linked to psoriasis. It's caused as your immune system attacks joint tissue. Between 10 and 30 percent of psoriasis patients will develop of psoriatic arthritis (PsA).

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The red devil

A colorful name for a psoriasis flare-up because it's red and never up to any good.

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Hobbling

The act that could be confused with 'walking,' but at a much slower, lumbering pace due to the pain and stiffness caused by psoriatic arthritis.

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DMARDs

Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs can help minimize joint damage by using live cells to target specific parts of the immune system.

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Pain

A constant challenge with psoriatic arthritis. Many people find over-the-counter medications aren't enough and opt to use something stronger or try other therapies, such as physical therapy.

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