Did you know that over 125 million people suffer from psoriasis worldwide? It is important to learn about psoriasis and treatment options available.
When I was little, I baby-sat a little girl that had very bad skin issues. While I don’t know what she had, I remember her mother telling me that it wasn’t contagious, and I had to apply a very thick balm to it every morning. What I remember is taking her to the park, and not only the kids moving away from her, but the parent too. Literally ostracizing this sweet girl, some even leaving the park completely, because they were afraid of her skin and I remember thinking that it was horrible to think how she must have felt.
Unfortunately not much has changed. And there are people living with psoriasis and skin conditions that feel ostracized every day.
Last week I had the pleasure of attending an event to understand more about psoriasis. Dr. Melinda Gooderham spoke about the facts about psoriasis and treatment options available, as well as it’s effect on patients.
Did you know that one million Canadians are affected by psoriasis? One million is a lot!
This chronic condition can range from a few dandruff-like scales on the skin to widespread patches across the body. It can affect both men and women at any time from childhood to old age. Early onset can happen in your 30s or 40s, and late onset can happen between 50-70 years of age, but it is more than just a skin disorder. It is a disorder of the immune system, which means that you can carry the gene without ever having a flare up.
What areas can be affected?
Elbows, knees, and scalp are the most common areas affected, however it can also occur on the palms of hands, soles of feet, nails, genitals and torso.
Flare ups include inflamed skin, which causes itchiness and pain. The skin can crack and bleed, which can also lead to disfiguration, disability and loss of productivity. Patients with psoriasis also are at higher risk for heart disease, diabetes and obesity and more.
Note that there is a difference between psoriasis and eczema. Psoriasis has thick and defined, inflamed areas on your body (you can clearly see where it begins and ends), where Eczema makes your body itch and is more scaly, and hard to define.
Mental health and psoriasis
It is because of the symptoms and appearance of psoriasis that lead to social exclusion, and a stigma towards patience. There is a direct correlation between psoriasis patients and depression, anxiety and sleep disturbance. Stress can also lead to a flare up of psoriasis.
But there is help.
Psoriasis and treatment options available
There are treatment options available including topical treatments, such as ointments and creams can help subside the itching and redness, if caught early. Other treatment options available include the following:
Sunlight, UVB phototherapy, pulse dye laser and combination light therapy can help treat large areas of psoriasis
Conventional Systemic Therapy
Such as oral prescription medications like apremilast, cyclosporine, etc.
Can help those patients who failed on typical treatments by blocking the pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints.
There are various treatment options available. Ask your doctor about SKYRIZI™, which is a treatment that blocks IL-23, (which is cell division and what happens with psoriasis)
There are networks and support for psoriasis patients available in Canada including:
Canadian Skin Patient Alliance
Canadian Association of Psoriasis Patients
It is important to learn about psoriasis and treatment options available. If you think you suffer from psoriasis, or know somebody who does, please check out Centre for Dermatology for options or speak to your doctor about SKYRIZI™.