Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition affecting millions worldwide, yet it remains shrouded in misconceptions and myths. It is estimated that about 2-3% of the of children and adults are affected worldwide. Understanding the truth about this autoinflammatory disorder is crucial for dispelling stigma and supporting those living with this condition.
People with psoriasis typically present with numerous raised, scaly and red areas of inflammation. The affected areas of the skin becomes raised and can develop silvery or white scales. The most common areas for these skin changes are the scalp, ears, elbows, knees and umbilicus. It can also develop in areas of prior trauma and following a sunburn or surgery. In children, it can commonly affect the face, which can affect their self-esteem very early in life.
Myth: Psoriasis is Contagious
Truth: Perhaps the most pervasive myth is that psoriasis is contagious. This couldn't be further from the truth. Psoriasis is not caused by any contagious agent. It is an autoinaflammatory disease where the immune system promotes inflammation among the skin cells and other organs, leading to red, thick and scaly areas throughout the body.
Myth: It's a Result of Poor Hygiene
Truth: Psoriasis is not caused by poor hygiene practices. It arises from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. While maintaining good hygiene is essential for overall health, it will not prevent or cure psoriasis.
Myth: Psoriasis is the Same for Everyone
Truth: There are different types of psoriasis, each presenting with unique symptoms and appearances. These include plaque psoriasis, guttate psoriasis, inverse psoriasis, pustular psoriasis, and erythrodermic psoriasis. Treatment approaches may vary depending on the patient’s age, the type and severity of psoriasis.
Myth: A Definitive Cure Exists for Psoriasis
Truth: There is no known cure for psoriasis to date. Although various treatments are available to manage symptoms and provide relief, they may not be effective for everyone. The goal of treatment is often to control the condition and achieve periods of remission rather than a complete cure.
Myth: It's Just a Skin Problem
Truth: While psoriasis primarily affects the skin, it is far from a superficial issue. This autoinflammatory condition can have systemic effects on the body. Studies have linked psoriasis to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, obesity, non-alcoholic fatty liver, psoriatic arthritis, type II diabetes and depression, highlighting the need for comprehensive medical management.
Myth: Psoriasis Only Affects Older People
Truth: Psoriasis can develop at any age and is not limited to older individuals. While it often appears in adulthood, infants, children and adolescents can also be affected. The age of onset varies widely from person to person.
The board-certified dermatologists and nurse practitioners at CU Medicine Dermatology – Aurora focus on delivering quality dermatology care to patients, with an emphasis on caring for Medicaid patients and other under-served populations.