Psoriasis is an immune-mediated disease that causes the body to make new skin cells in days rather than weeks. Although it’s a chronic lifelong condition without a cure, with the right treatment psoriasis can be managed.
People living with psoriasis face the reality of their condition 24/7. Red, scaly patches on the skin, the itch that won’t go away, the stares, invasive questions and comments, and the never-ending physical pain.
Living with psoriasis is more than just a skin condition. This disease is a daily physical, emotional, and psychological battle for a million South Africans. The chronic disease can cause mental stress, anxiety, low self-esteem, and depression. On top of this, people living with psoriasis also face social stigma, as the disease is often difficult to hide. The stigma can negatively impact their mental health and can result in people living with the disease, isolating themselves.
WHAT IS PSORIASIS?
Psoriasis is a serious lifelong skin condition, where the body makes new skin cells at an alarming rate, causing the cells to pile up on the skin’s surface. This causes thick, scaly lesions, called plaques.
Psoriasis affects children as young as 15-years-old, as well as women and men across all racial lines. Far from a simple disease, the impact of psoriasis can be devastating to other organs and tissues in the body.
Many people diagnosed with psoriasis are often overweight and have higher cholesterol. These health concerns, coupled with the severity of psoriasis, leading to an increased risk for vascular disease, causing heart attacks, strokes, and premature death, as the inflammation can harm the arteries and veins.
SYMPTOMS ASSOCIATED WITH PSORIASIS
Although psoriasis can present on any part of the body, it is most common on the knees, elbows, lower back, scalp, legs, face, palms, and the soles of the feet. Symptoms are different for everyone, and can include:
- Red patches are covered with thick, silvery scales.
- Stiff, swollen, and painful joints.
- Itching and burning.
- Dry and cracked skin.
CLEAR SKIN IS ACHIEVABLE
Although there is no cure for psoriasis, people living with this disease don’t have to suffer. Dermatologists can prescribe treatment options that can reduce or eliminate symptoms, bringing much-needed relief to people living with psoriasis. These treatment options can include topical treatments to help prevent the skin from becoming too dry, oral medication, light therapy, and breakthrough biologics that makes it possible for a patient to achieve clear skin.
Encourage patients with symptoms of psoriasis to make an appointment to see a dermatologist who will prescribe effective treatment options. Stress that effective psoriasis treatment can also prevent other serious health concerns like diabetes or psoriatic arthritis and help people with the condition live a fulfilled and healthy life.