20 Dec Psoriasis – More Than Just A Skin Disease!
I have often thought that there is a tendency amongst people to treat skin disease as something less important … as if it’s not really a ‘proper’ illness. The perception is that a quick application of a lotion or cream will ‘clear the rash’ and all will be well. If only this were true. Psoriasis is in fact, not a skin disease – it is an autoimmune disorder. This is a hugely important distinction to make, as with more severe cases, psoriasis can lead to many complications with associated illnesses such as arthritis, diabetes and cardiac disease.
The visible symptoms of psoriasis are well known. Red, angry, inflamed skin with plaques covered in silvery scales. Skin that is itchy, sore, unsightly and uncomfortable. However, it is the invisible symptoms that often cause the greatest scars. The stigma of looking different; unattractive, flaking lesions; the constant efforts to hide skin from the gaze of others; the cruel and humiliating comments. People with psoriasis have been turned away from hairdressers and asked to leave swimming pools. Where there is ignorance, there will be fear and the lack of public awareness can often lead people to mistakenly believe that psoriasis is contagious. It’s not! But all these factors can lead to a serious loss of self-esteem and in some cases, result in depression. It is not unusual for the psychological impact of psoriasis to be far more significant than the physical symptoms.
Because it is not a curable disease, there is often a resignation amongst people with psoriasis that nothing can be done and so the downward spiral of suffering and depression continues. It is time to change this cycle and for us to spread the message that psoriasis no longer has to be the life sentence it once was. In recent years especially, huge advances have been made in treatments, with new and improved medications being produced on a regular basis. It is also imperative to raise awareness of this disease and spread the word that psoriasis is not contagious thereby removing the stigma that so often goes hand in hand with this disease. Psoriasis is certainly more than just a skin disease, but with proper treatment and understanding it shouldn’t be a defining part of anyone’s life.