PSORIASIS FACTS AND MYTHS
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Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition characterized by red patches with white, flaky skin prevalent on the elbows, knees, scalp, legs. Psoriasis is not uncommon, according to the World Psoriasis Day Consortium, 125 million people worldwide or 2 to 3 percent of the total population—have psoriasis.
Up to one-third of people with psoriasis may also have a form of arthritis called "psoriatic arthritis," in which the immune system also attacks the joints.
In many cases, psoriasis goes away and then flares up again. The triggers that bring on psoriasis include: stress, dry air, infections, skin injuries, some medicines, too much or too little sun, cold weather and smoking.
Diagnosing psoriasis done by a dermatologist. The doctor may take a piece of the affected skin (a biopsy) and examine it under the microscope. When biopsied, psoriasis skin looks thicker and inflamed when compared to skin with eczema
There are many misconceptions about Psoriasis. Here are some common myths people still believe about psoriasis.
All forms of Psoriasis are the same:
As per the National Psoriasis Foundation, there are five different types of psoriasis:
- PLAQUE: It is one of the most common forms of Psoriasis identified by its layer of flaky dead skin cells called scales over raised red patches. It mainly affects the elbows, knees, scalp, lower back but is not limited to these regions.
- GUTTATE: Unlike plaque psoriasis, guttate is characterized by red, scaly, tiny patches often resembling spots, wherein spots cluster together on the skin. These spots which show up mainly on back or ears, the scalp can develop into a mild and moderate lesion, covering between 3% -10% of your body.
- PUSTULAR: As the name suggests, pustular psoriasis leads to building up of white pustules or noninfectious blisters, which either appear in a small area like fingertips or spread across wider regions like palms, feet.
- ERYTHRODERMIC: It is the rarest form of psoriasis affecting 3% of the total population and is in the form of deep rashes, characterized by severe pain and itching, fluctuating body temperature, shedding of skin.
- INVERSE: Inverse or Hidden psoriasis, which it is commonly referred to as, affects those parts of the body where the skin rubs against skin or in the folds such as arms, inner thighs. Another distinguishing characteristic about inverse psoriasis is that it appears as small patches, unlike any other form of psoriasis.
Only adults get affected by Psoriasis:
Psoriasis flares can start at any age. Up to 40% of people with psoriasis have symptoms before they're 16 years old, and 10% get it before they're 10. Although rare, infants can also get psoriasis.
If one of the parents has the disease, then there is a 10% chance that their child will develop it. If both parents contract psoriasis, then that child's rate of having psoriasis increases to 50%.
Psoriasis is contagious:
Psoriasis skin can crack and bleed leading people to believe that the infected skin is contagious but Psoriasis is not contagious. Firstly, psoriasis is not an infection, it is an autoimmune disease, wherein the immune system attacks itself.
In an autoimmune disease, the immune system develops cells, considers it a foreign cell and attacks it, leading to the disease. Autoimmune diseases like psoriasis are not transmitted from one person to another by any infectious element.
Bad hygiene causes Psoriasis:
Psoriasis is inflammation deep within the epidermis and causes cracks and bleeding of the skin. It is caused by the immune system perceiving its cells as invaders and attacking it. It has nothing to do with cleanliness.
Psoriasis cannot be managed
As mentioned above, psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease which cannot be cured. There is no treatment yet researched and found that can guarantee a complete cure of the illness.
However, there are treatments to help manage the condition. The most common form treatment include topical and internal medications that help to suppress the scaling and cracks. Organic treatment at home such as oatmeal baths, yoga, eating right food can also help ease the itching and soothe the scales.
Phototherapy is being researched for providing an effective solution. In phototherapy, the part affected by psoriasis is exposed to natural or artificial light. Natural light being sunlight and artificial light includes UVA or UVB. Overexposure to both natural and artificial light result in side effects.
Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease but scientist and doctors across the world are diligently working to find the root cause of it and develop a medicine to help patients get relief from the physical and emotional pain.
Just like any disease, Psoriasis should not be stigmatized. There are many foundations helping psoriasis patient break out of the stigma. Educating people about psoriasis is part of a national and international patient care research process. Health care services throughout the world are trying to educate the public, patients and the guardians about the disease.
As mentioned above, although incurable, Psoriasis can be suppressed and upon consulting the right dermatologist, one can get considerable relief from the painful flare-ups. To search for the best health providers for dermatology in Croatia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Malaysia, Singapore, Slovakia Spain, Thailand, The UAE, the UK, and the US, please use our free search engine.
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