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5 Things You May Not Know About Psoriasis

You may have heard of psoriasis and dismissed it as a simple skin condition, but it’s actually much more than that. It can be quite debilitating and serious if left untreated, too. According to Psoriasis Speaks, this chronic long-lasting condition actually starts underneath the skin and is essentially a disease of the immune system that can range from mild to severe. To make matters worse, it often comes with other conditions such as psoriatic arthritis, Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Good news is, treatment is available, which can be made easier as part of a home health care plan.

Like many health conditions, psoriasis isn’t always completely understood. That’s why we have compiled these five things you may not know about psoriasis.

1. What you see on the skin level is only a tiny piece of the story. Like an iceberg, there’s a lot more to this than meets the eye, and most of what’s going on with this disease is happening below the skin. Normal skin takes about 30 days to shed and produce new skin cells. With plaque psoriasis, the immune system is over-active, resulting in inflammation and faster-producing skin cells than normal. Essentially, new skin cells are being pushed to the surface in just four days as opposed to 30. Problem is, the body can’t shed those new skin cells that quickly, so while new skin cells are being developed underneath, dead skin cells pile up on top. The thick, itchy, flaky red patches you see are called plaques.

2. There are several types of psoriasis, not just plaque. Although plaque psoriasis is the one you most commonly hear about, there are several other kinds, according to Prevention:

  • Plaque: Features rounded or oval patches of affected skin that are red with thick silvery scales. It’s common on the elbows, knees, scalp or buttocks.
  • Inverse: This is found in the creases of skin such as underarm, groin, buttocks, genital areas or under the breast. Red patches are moist rather than scaly due to location.
  • Pustular: Pimples or pustules are found on the patches.
  • Guttate: Small, red patches come on suddenly, usually in a young person who has recently suffered from strep throat or upper respiratory infection.
  • Erythrodermic: A severe and rare form.

3. You can’t catch psoriasis. It may look like a highly contagious rash at first glance, but rest assured it’s not catching, says Self. You can hold hands and hug those with psoriasis and not be afraid of getting it yourself. This can be the most debilitating myth about the condition, as it can be very isolating for those who suffer from it. Even when told others can’t catch it, many don’t believe it. This can lead to severe self-confidence issues in the sufferers. It can affect everything from not wanting to be seen in public to putting in a lot of time deciding what to wear. Embarrassment about the condition can make it very hard to accept one’s body.

4. Psoriasis is painful. You may assume the condition is itchy, which is certainly true, but it can also be extremely painful. That’s because 30 percent of people who have this skin condition also have psoriatic arthritis as well as severe rheumatoid arthritis, resulting in joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. Like other illnesses, this pain isn’t always present. The pain comes and goes as part of flare-ups. Cracks in the skin are also common, which can lead to pain and even infection, says WebMD. Even creams and lotions don’t always soothe, as they can often sting when making contact with the wound. Doctors will prescribe ointment, which is more greasy, for this type of situation. If infection has set in, antibiotics are given.

5. Stress is a trigger, as are many other situations. When a person is stressed out, this can lead to a flare-up. For others, smoking, alcohol, extreme weather conditions, and trauma to the skin can trigger a reaction. Even pool water (due most likely to the presence of chlorine) can bring on a bout of psoriasis. From physical to emotional, triggers to psoriasis flare-ups can happen at any time.

As you can see, there are many things you may not have known about psoriasis. We hope you have learned a few things along the way!

Contact Pathways Home Health and Hospice

If you need home health care for a loved one who also happens to suffer from psoriasis, please contact Pathways Home Health and Hospice at 888-755-7855. Coping with chronic illness can be debilitating and restrictive. Our home health care nurses, aides and other members of the team can help your loved one manage their psoriasis. Remember, home is the most comfortable and comforting place to heal when dealing with a health challenge. Learn more by calling us today.