Tough to spell, hard to pronounce, and a source of great frustration for the 7.5 million Americans who suffer from it. That’s about 2.6% of the population dealing with its tell-tale effects including red, inflamed patches of skin covered by dead white skin cells.
Despite that large population of sufferers, many people affected directly by psoriasis, and even more who are affected indirectly, have very little real knowledge of the condition. Awareness is one of the biggest weapons that Texas psoriasis sufferers have against the affliction, not just to improve their chances of controlling its effects, but also to educate those around them.
Here’s a look at four myths about psoriasis and the truth behind them.
#1 Psoriasis is contagious
100% untrue. Psoriasis is not a skin condition, it is an auto immune disease. You can touch, hug, kiss, and share food with a person suffering from psoriasis without any fear of acquiring the disease.
#2 Psoriasis is curable
Unfortunately, this is not true. It can be treated, and its symptoms reduced, but it is a lifelong condition for now. When it is treated by a doctor, there are three goals:
- Soothing itching/inflammation
- Removing excess dead skin from the body
- Stopping overactive skin cell production
#3 Psoriasis is only a skin problem
Psoriasis goes far beyond excess skin cells. The patches of skin can be very painful and itchy, and can bleed or crack, which leads to a much higher risk of infection. It’s not just the skin that is affected, however. When outbreaks are particularly noticeable, psoriasis sufferers can feel depressed, anxious, or stigmatized by their condition, particularly if it is obvious to coworkers or classmates.
#4 There is only one type of psoriasis
Not even close, there are actually five: pustular, erythrodermic, inverse, guttate, and plaque.
- Plaque is the most common form and is characterized by the descriptions above, it often appears on your elbows, knees, lower back, or scalp.
- Guttate psoriasis manifests as small red spots on the skin. It often forms after certain triggers, including strep throat, stress, skin injuries, infections, and medication.
- Inverse psoriasis appears in skin folds such as your armpits, groin area, and the underside of women’s breasts. It manifests as red, shiny, smooth skin. The moisture and sweat from these areas of the body keep the area from shedding skin scales. The constant skin-to-skin contact can make it very uncomfortable.
- Pustular psoriasis is a severe form of the condition that develops as white pustules surrounded by red skin. In some cases, the pustules can join and form scaling, especially on the hands and feet. The pustules themselves are noninfectious, but the condition can cause flu-like symptoms including loss of appetite, advanced pulse, chills, fever, weakened muscles.
- Erythrodermic psoriasis is the rarest and most serious type. It manifests as widespread, red, and scaly skin that looks like severe burns and may make your body so hot that hospitalization is necessary to control its temperature.
Psoriasis is a health condition that can affect anyone at any age. And though there is no cure, currently there are treatments to reduce its symptoms. And as scary as medical conditions and emergencies can be, SE Texas ER & Hospital is here 24/7, 365 to provide compassionate, concierge-level emergency care to all.
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