Many treatments can effectively manage psoriasis symptoms and improve the quality of life for those with the condition.
Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition characterised by red, itchy, and scaly patches on the skin. Unfortunately, like many medical conditions, psoriasis has been subject to various myths and misconceptions.
Common myths about psoriasis:
Myth: Psoriasis is contagious.
Fact: Psoriasis is not contagious. It is an autoimmune disease which results in cell overproduction and the characteristic psoriatic lesions.
Myth: It is just a skin problem.
Fact: Psoriasis is more than just a skin condition; it is a chronic autoimmune disease. It can also affect joints, causing psoriatic arthritis, which results in pain, swelling, and stiffness.
Myth: Psoriasis is caused by poor hygiene.
Fact: Psoriasis is not caused by poor hygiene or lack of cleanliness. It is primarily a genetic condition influenced by various environmental factors.
Myth: Psoriasis is the same for everyone.
Fact: There are several types of psoriasis, including plaque psoriasis, guttate psoriasis, inverse psoriasis, pustular psoriasis, and erythrodermic psoriasis. Each type can present differently, and the severity can vary from person to person.
Myth: Sun exposure cures psoriasis.
Fact: While sunlight can improve psoriasis symptoms for some people due to its impact on the immune system and skin inflammation, it is not a cure. Overexposure to sunlight can worsen the condition and increase the risk of skin cancer.
Myth: Psoriasis only affects older people.
Fact: Psoriasis can affect people of any age, including children and teenagers. It often develops between the ages of 15 and 35, but it can begin at any time.
Myth: Stress causes psoriasis.
Fact: Stress can trigger or worsen psoriasis symptoms in some individuals, but it is not the sole cause of the condition. Psoriasis has complex underlying causes involving genetic and immune system factors.
Myth: There is no effective treatment for psoriasis.
Fact: While there is no cure for psoriasis, many treatments can effectively manage psoriasis symptoms and improve the quality of life for those with the condition. These treatments include topical medications, systemic medications, phototherapy, and lifestyle changes.
It is essential to separate fact from fiction when discussing psoriasis to promote a better understanding of the condition and reduce stigmatization and misconceptions associated with it. If you or someone you know has psoriasis, consulting a healthcare professional can help in developing an appropriate management plan tailored to individual needs.
Six lesser-known facts about psoriasis
Psoriasis flare-ups can be triggered or worsened by numerous factors, including stress, certain medications (e.g., beta-blockers, lithium), infections, skin injuries, smoking, alcohol consumption, and even weather changes. Identifying and avoiding triggers can help manage the condition.
Some people with psoriasis experience the Koebner phenomenon, where new psoriatic lesions develop at the site of skin injuries or trauma. This can include cuts, scrapes, bug bites, sunburns, or surgical scars.
Psoriasis is not just a skin condition; it is associated with an increased risk of developing other health conditions, such as psoriatic arthritis, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and depression.
Psoriasis can affect the nails, causing changes such as pitting (small dents), discolouration, thickening, crumbling, and separation from the nail bed. Nail psoriasis can be challenging to treat and may require specialised care.
Psoriasis can have a significant psychological impact on individuals, leading to feelings of embarrassment, shame, and social isolation. It may affect self-esteem and mental health, highlighting the importance of addressing both the physical and emotional aspects of the condition.
Studies have shown that individuals with a higher body mass index (BMI) have an increased risk of developing psoriasis. The exact mechanism behind this association is not fully understood, but it is believed that inflammation and adipose tissue (fat tissue) play a role. Likewise, the chronic inflammation associated with psoriasis can lead to metabolic changes, including insulin resistance, which may result in weight gain.
It is essential to separate fact from fiction when discussing psoriasis to promote a better understanding of the condition. This will reduce stigmatization and misconceptions associated with Psoriasis.
CONSULTANT – DERMATOLOGY