Glossary


Acute Anaemia
Anthracene derivatives Anti-inflammatory
Antimetabolic Antipsoriatic
Arthritis Autoimmune disease
Bacterial Biologic therapy
Biopsy Blood pressure
Cell Chronic stable plaque psoriasis
Corticosteroid Cream
Cutaneous Cytokines
Cytotoxic Dactylitis
Dermatitis Dermis
Depression Diabetes
Diagnosis

Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs
(DMARDS)

Emollient Enthesitis
Epidermis Erythema
Erythrodermic psoriasis Fatigue
Flare or flare-up Folliculitis
Gene Goekerman Regimen
Guttate psoriasis High blood pressure
Immune system Immunosuppressants
Inflammation Inverse psoriasis
Keratin Keratolytics
Lesion Monoclonal antibody
Nail psoriasis

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
(NSAIDS)

Ointment Oral retinoid
Over-the-counter medicine Photosensitivity
Phototherapy Pigmentation
Plaque psoriasis Prescription medicine
Prevalence Pruritus
Psoralen Psoriasis
Psoriasis vulgaris Psoriatic arthritis
Pus Pustular psoriasis
PUVA Rash
Recalcitrant Remission
Salicylic acid Scaling
Side effects Skin
Stelara® Steroid
Streptococcus Sunburn
Systemic T cell
T-cell blocker Tars
Therapy Tissue
TNF-alpha blocker Topical
Topical steroids Trigger
Tumour necrosis factor (TNF) Ultraviolet A (UVA)
Ultraviolet B (UVB) Unstable psoriasis
Viral Vitamin D analogues
White blood cell  

 

Acute
A disease or condition that comes on suddenly or progresses rapidly.
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Anaemia
The condition of having less than the normal number of red blood cells or less than the normal quantity of haemoglobin in the blood. The oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood is, therefore, decreased.
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Anthracene derivatives
A class of prescription medicine that can be use on the skin or scalp, alone or with other treatments.
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Anti-inflammatory
A medicine used to diminished immune response (or inflammation). It relieves swelling, redness or pain caused by infection, injury or diseases.
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Antimetabolic
A medicine that inhibits the reproduction of cells.
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Antipsoriatic
A medicine used to treat psoriasis.
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Arthritis
Inflammation of a joint. When joints are inflamed they can develop stiffness, warmth, swelling, redness and pain.
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Autoimmune disease
A disease in which the immune system attacks or destroys a person’s own tissue.
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Bacterial
Of or pertaining an infection caused by a bacteria.
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Biologic therapy
Medicinal products composed of substances taken from a variety of natural sources such as proteins, vaccines and genes and produced by biotechnology.
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Biopsy
A sample of tissue that is taken for the purposes of diagnosis.
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Blood pressure
The blood pressure is the pressure of the blood within the arteries. It consists of two numbers. The first is called the systolic pressure and is measured after the heart contracts. It is the higher of the two numbers. The second is called the diastolic pressure and is measured when the heart muscle is relaxed (i.e. before it contracts). It is the lower of the two numbers. A normal blood pressure is about 120 (systolic) over 80 (diastolic) mmHg. High blood pressure is known as hypertension, low blood pressure as hypotension.
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Cell
The basic “building block” of our bodies. Each cell is a small container of certain structures, chemical and water wrapped in a membrane. Cells also contain strands of DNA — our genetic blueprint.
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Chronic stable plaque psoriasis
The most common form of psoriasis, it is characterized by red lessons and silvery white scales on the skin. It can occur anywhere on the body but is most common on the knees, lower back, elbows and scalp. The plaque tends to be symmetrical, meaning that it appears in the same area on both sides of the body.
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Corticosteroid
Man-made medicines that resemble cortisone, a hormone produced by the body. They are used to treat inflammation and help to relieve pain and stiffness.
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Cream
A water-soluble preparation applied to the skin. An ointment differs from a cream in that it has an oil base.
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Cutaneous
Pertaining to the skin.
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Cytokines
Chemical messengers in the body that are involved in cell-to-cell communication.
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Cytotoxic
A medicine that works by binding to and inhibiting an enzyme involved in the rapid growth of cells.
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Dactylitis
Inflammation and swelling of fingers and toes.
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Dermatitis
A term referring to inflammation, itching, redness and swelling of the skin.
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Dermis
The layer beneath the upper layer (epidermis) of the skin.
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Depression
An illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts. Appropriate treatment can help most people with depression.
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Diabetes
A condition involving the regulation of sugar (glucose) in the blood. There are three main types of diabetes: type 1 (in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin), type 2 (in which the pancreas produces insulin but the body cannot use it effectively), and gestational diabetes (a form of diabetes that develops during a small proportion of pregnancies and may go away after delivery).
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Diagnosis
The identification of an illness or condition.
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Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDS)
Medicines prescribed to people with severe psoriatic arthritis.
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Emollient
A substance containing fat or oil that soothes and softens the skin.
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Enthesitis
An inflammation of the insertion of a muscle with a strong tendency toward fibrosis and calcification. It is usually only painful when the involved muscle is activated.
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Epidermis
The outermost layer of the skin.
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Erythema
Abnormal redness of the skin due to capillary congestion or inflammation.
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Erythrodermic psoriasis
The most severe form of psoriasis, this form affects 100% or nearly 100% of the body surface area, leaving little or no normal skin left. It is characterised by red, peeling skin that may burn or itch. It can be triggered by the use of certain medicines (e.g. corticosteroids), by severe sunburn, or by other types of psoriasis that have not been treated appropriately.
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Fatigue
Severe weakness or tiredness that is not relieved by rest. Fatigue can be acute and come on suddenly or be chronic and persist.
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Flare or flare-up
A sudden worsening of psoriasis symptoms.
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Folliculitis
An inflammation of the hair follicles (the lining of the hair shaft).
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Gene
The basic biological unit of heredity composed of segments of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).
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Goekerman Regimen
A treatment for psoriasis that uses coal tar and ultraviolet B light.
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Guttate psoriasis
A type of psoriasis characterized by drop-shaped lesions on the trunk, arms, legs or scalp. It tends to affect people under the age of 30 and the type most often seen in children. It is sometimes triggered by a bacterial infection.
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High blood pressure
Also known as hypertension, high blood pressure is, by definition, having a blood pressure that is consistently higher than 140/90mmHg: a systolic pressure above 140mmHg, with a diastolic pressure above 90mmHg.
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Immune system
A complex system that is responsible for protecting us against infections and foreign substances. The immune system works to seek and kill invaders.
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Immunosuppressants
A class of drugs that suppress the immune system.
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Inflammation
Swelling, redness heat and pain of tissue because of injury or disease.
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Inverse psoriasis
Also called flexural psoriasis, a form of psoriasis found in folds of the skin, such as the armpits, groin, under the breasts and around the genitals and buttocks. This form of psoriasis appears as smooth, dry areas of skin that are red and inflamed but do not have the scaling associated with plaque psoriasis. Inverse psoriasis is more frequent and severe in people who are overweight because the skin folds are prone to irritation from rubbing and sweating.
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Keratin
The strong, fibrous protein that is the major component of skin, hair and nails.
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Keratolytics
Over-the-counter agents that help soften the skin and remove scales.
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Lesion
A patch of skin affected by psoriasis.
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Monoclonal antibody
An antibody is a protein produced by your immune system. One of the properties of an antibody is to “recognise” and bind to one particular place on one particular kind of molecule. This property, known as “specificity”, allows antibodies to attack infections (“non-self” molecules on bacteria, for example) while leaving your own tissues (“self”) unharmed. Monoclonal antibodies are simply multiple copies of a single antibody type.
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Nail psoriasis
Several types of psoriasis can affect the fingernails and toenails. In fact, about half the people with psoriasis will experience some nail changes. Symptoms can include pitting or holes in the nails, “lifting” of the nail from the nail bed (onycholysis), thickening of the nail, or discolouration of the nail (usually to yellow or brown).
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Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS)
Medicine used to reduce pain and swelling.
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Ointment
A medicine preparation that is applied topically (onto the skin) and is oil-based. Creams are also topical agents but are water-soluble.
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Oral retinoid
A class of medicine that is synthetic version of vitamin A. They can affect how fast cells multiply and can be used to treat psoriasis.
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Over-the-counter medicine
Drugs or products sold in pharmacies and stores that do not require a prescription from a licensed health care professional. They are also referred to as non-prescription medicines.
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Photosensitivity
An abnormal sensitivity of the skin to sunlight.
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Phototherapy
Treatment of the skin with ultraviolet light.
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Pigmentation
The colouring of the skin, hair, mucous membranes, and retina of the eye.
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Plaque psoriasis
The most common form of psoriasis. Plaque psoriasis can appear on any skin surface, although the knees, elbows, scalp, trunk and nails are the most common locations. It is characterized by well-defined patches of red raised skin. The flaky silvery white build-up on top of the plaques is called scale; it is composed of dead skin cells. This scale comes loose and sheds constantly from the plaques. Skin affected with psoriasis is generally very dry, and other possible symptoms include skin pain, itching and cracking. The technical name for plaque psoriasis is psoriasis vulgaris (vulgaris means common).
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Prescription medicine
A medicine that requires a prescription from a licensed health care provider, usually a physician or a nurse practitioner. Prescription medicines are typically dispensed by a licensed pharmacist.
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Prevalence
Of all people in the population, the number at that point in time who have a disease or condition. (Prevalence = the total number of cases in the population, divided by the number of individuals in the population.)
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Pruritus
The medical term for itching.
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Psoralen
An oral medicine that contains chemicals that increase the skin’s sensitivity to ultraviolet light therapy.
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Psoriasis
A common, immune-mediated disease that results in areas of reddish or scaly plaque over different parts of the body.
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Psoriasis vulgaris
The medical name for the most common form of psoriasis. It is also called plaque psoriasis because of the characteristic plaques on the skin: well-defined patches of red raised skin that can appear on any area of skin, although the knees, elbows, scalp, trunk and nails are the most common locations. The flaky silvery white build-up on top of the plaques is called scale; it is composed of dead skin cells. This scale comes loose and sheds constantly from the plaques. Skin affected with psoriasis is generally very dry, and other possible symptoms include skin pain, itching and cracking.
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Psoriatic arthritis
A form of arthritis that causes inflammation, swelling and pain in and around the joints, particularly the wrists, knees, ankles, fingers and toes. It can also affect the back and the tissues surrounding the joints. This is often associated with psoriasis. There are two forms of psoriatic arthritis: one that develops slowly and affects less than five joints and a second, more severe form of the disease that affects five or more joints at the same time.
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Pus
A thick whitish-yellow fluid that results from the accumulation of white blood cells (WBCs), liquefied tissue and cellular debris. Pus is commonly a site of infection or foreign material in the body.
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Pustular psoriasis
A type of recurring psoriasis characterized by the appearance of (non-infectious) pus-filled pimples and sores in clusters. There are two types of pustular psoriasis. The first is more common and involves only the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. In this form, red areas are studded with a mixture of new yellow pus spots and older, brown dried-up spots. This type is slow to clear and can be difficult to treat. The second type is more widespread and can affect any part of the skin. Sometimes, pustular psoriasis is accompanied by flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, weight loss and fatigue.
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PUVA
PUVA stands for psoralen (P) and ultraviolet A (UVA) therapy in which the patient is exposed first to psoralens (drugs containing chemicals that make skin more sensitive to ultraviolet light) and then to UVA light.
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Rash
Breaking out (eruption) of the skin. Medically, a rash is referred to as an exanthem.
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Recalcitrant
Stubbornly resistant to treatment.
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Remission
A period of reduced symptoms.
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Salicylic acid
A substance obtained from plants (white willow back and wintergreen leaves) or manufactured synthetically that has bacteria and fungus-killing properties, softens the skin and helps to remove scale.
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Scaling
Abnormal shedding or accumulation of an upper layer of skin (the stratum corneum).
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Side effects
Known and frequently experienced reactions to a medicine.
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Skin
The skin is the body’s outer covering. It protects us against heat and light, injury, and infection, helps to regulate body temperature and stores water, fat, and vitamin D.
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Stelara®
A treatment for adults with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis. Called a biologic, or biological treatment, Stelara® is a “monoclonal antibody”.
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Steroid
A general class of chemical substances that are structurally related to one another and share the same chemical structure.
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Streptococcus
A group of bacteria, familiarly known as strep, that cause a multitude of diseases, such as strep throat, pneumonia, scarlet fever, rheumatic fever and others.
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Sunburn
Inflammation of the skin that develops caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or from tanning beds and booths that emit UV radiation. Sunburn is characterized by reddened, painful skin that may develop blisters.
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Systemic
Affecting the entire body. A systemic disease such as diabetes can affect the whole body. Systemic chemotherapy employs drugs that travel through the bloodstream and reach and affect cells all over the body.
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T cell
A type of white blood cell that is of key importance to the immune system and is at the core of adaptive immunity, the system that tailors the body’s immune response to specific pathogens.
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T-cell blocker
A class of medicines that work by blocking activation of T-cells.
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Tars
Over-the-counter shampoo or topical solutions that can be used to treat psoriasis.
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Therapy
The treatment for a disease or condition.
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Tissue
A broad term that is applied to any group of cells that perform specific functions.
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A class of prescription medicines that block or dampen the action of tumour necrosis factor (TNF), a substance that regulates immune cells. Examples include brand and generic names.
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Topical
Pertaining to the surface of the skin. Topical medicines are applied to the skin.
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Topical steroids
Prescription creams or ointments that contain steroids and can be applied directly to psoriatic lesions.
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Trigger
Something that either sets off a disease in people who are genetically predisposed to developing the disease, or that causes a certain symptom to occur in a person who has a disease.
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Tumour necrosis factor (TNF)
Formally known as tumour necrosis factor-alpha. A cytokine involved in systemic inflammation and is a member of a group of cytokines that all stimulate the acute phase reaction.
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Ultraviolet A (UVA)
One of the three types of invisible light rays (together with ultraviolet B and ultraviolet C) given off by the sun.
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Ultraviolet B (UVB)
One of the three types of invisible light rays (together with ultraviolet A and ultraviolet C) given off by the sun.
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Unstable psoriasis
If the psoriasis loses the clear-cut sharp edges common to chronic stable plaque, it is referred to as unstable psoriasis. Sometimes, the plaques enlarge and even join up. Or new areas of plaque may appear.
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Viral
Of or pertaining to a virus.
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Vitamin D analogues
A class of prescription medicine for psoriasis that are a synthetic form of vitamin D.
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White blood cell
One of the cells the body makes to help fight infections.
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