Alison Johnson was diagnosed with psoriasis in her late teens. Large, white, itchy, bleeding scabby lesions covered her body. It caused excruciating pain. Too often, the itch was worse than the pain.

 Alison suffered in silence as she applied creams for the pain, and carefully selected clothing to hide her psoriasis from wandering eyes, intrusive questions, and unwarranted comments. And while Alison was seeing doctors and doing all she could in secret, her family and friends were unaware of the full impact of her diagnosis.

Alison wasn’t alone. 125 million people worldwide—2 to 3 percent of the total population—have psoriasis.  An autoimmune disease that can have devastating effects.

What Is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a lifelong condition that develops when the skin cells multiply faster than normal, causing inflammation and leading to the build-up of skin cells, showing red patches, covered in white scales on the skin.

 Dermatologists can diagnose the disease in children and adults, men and women, and cases vary from mild to severe. People with the condition may notice their psoriasis go through cycles of inflammation for months at a time, subside and then reappear again.

Flare-ups can be triggered by several factors including infection, stress, injury to the skin, and medication.

Mental Health

Living with psoriasis is more than skin deep. Mental health conditions, such as low self-esteem and depression can develop. Over the course of her life, Alison’s psoriasis affected her self-esteem. Her shame resulted in her isolating herself, which eventually lead to depression.

Affects More Than The Skin

Many people with psoriasis are at a greater risk of diabetes and cholesterol, and they’re at risk of psoriatic arthritis, which affects at least one in three people already living with the condition and causes swelling, stiffness, and pain in the joints.

As Alison’s psoriasis advanced, she also showed symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. Her joints were inflamed, and she couldn’t use her hands properly, making everyday tasks like brushing teeth, opening doors, and making the bed extremely challenging and painful. Alison didn’t have the confidence to hold her baby grandchildren, for fear of letting them go.

Breakthrough Treatment Can Achieve Clear Skin

Although there is no cure for psoriasis, treatment is available for this life-threatening disease. Effective and breakthrough treatment can reduce the symptoms, and slow skin cells’ growth, relieving the itch.

Depending on the severity of a diagnosis, dermatologists can prescribe treatment, such as;

 

skin care
Photo by Laia Núñez on Unsplash
  • Creams or moisturizers to treat the dry skin
  • UV light therapy, which slows the growth of skin cells
  • Systemic medications are taken orally and are prescribed to patients who don’t respond to or are unable to take topical medications or UV light therapy. This treatment works throughout the body.
  • Biologics are new treatments and blocks specific cells and proteins, controlling the inflammation, and some make clear skin a possibility.

Unlike Alison, people living with psoriasis can access breakthrough treatment to relieve them of the pain and discomfort of this condition. In fact, achieving clear skin for long periods with effective treatment is possible. If you need treatment for your psoriasis, speak to a dermatologist and appeal to your medical aid for access to treatment that can make clear and healthy skin, your reality.

References

  1. Health24. Severe psoriasis linked to an earlier death. https://www.news24.com/health24/Medical/Skin/News/severe-psoriasis-linked-to-earlier-death-20170908. Accessed on 27 January 2021.
  2. WebMD. Psoriasis. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/psoriasis/understanding-psoriasis-basics. Accessed on 6 February 2021.
  3. Harvard Health Publishing. Psoriasis: More than skin deep. https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/psoriasis-more-than-skin-deep. Accessed on 6 February 2021.
  4. Mayo Clinic. Psoriasis. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/psoriasis/symptoms-causes/syc-20355840. Accessed on 6 February 2021.
  5. National Psoriasis Foundation. Systemics. https://www.psoriasis.org/systemics/. Accessed on 8 April 2021.
  6. National Psoriasis Foundation. Biologics. https://www.psoriasis.org/biologics/. Accessed on 9 February 2021.
Nompu Biyela

Nompu Biyela

Nompu is a graduate, completing an internship with the team at Longevity. In her spare time, she runs her own small business WashaWasha for sneaker lovers.

The content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.