The tragedy with skin diseases like psoriasis is that they are often visible. Therefore, stigmas get attached to them reasonably quickly. To combat such stigmas and raise general awareness about the disease, the National Psoriasis Foundation in the USA observes the Psoriasis Awareness Month every August.
So, not all skin itches are equal. Some, like those caused by a yeast infection, go away within a couple of weeks. Others, like eczema and psoriasis, cannot be cured but only managed. Hence, if your itch suggests that you might have one of these more chronic conditions, awareness can genuinely help you live an unhindered life.
What is Psoriasis?
The broad definition must be clear by now. More specifically, though, it is a skin disease, passed genetically, with appearances of red, often flaky, patches that commonly itch in cycles. That means, for a certain period, they would flare up and itch, then go into slumber and show signs of remission for some time, but then reappear in their flared-up form.
Most commonly, they are found on the elbows, scalp, knees, face, and trunk of the human body.
If you are prone to it, there can be multiple triggers of psoriasis. These include:
- Skin injuries
- Drinking and smoking
- Hormonal changes, including puberty and menopause
- Immune disorders like HIV
- Throat infections
- Medicines including antimalarial and autoinflammatory drugs, lithium, and ACE inhibitors
Is Psoriasis Contagious?
There is a lot that medical science is yet to discover about psoriasis. However, one thing that it does know for sure is that it is not contagious. As discussed earlier, your genes either make you prone to it or not. If it is not in your system, you won’t get it.
While it may not always be possible for you to ascertain whether the disease runs in your genes or not, you can always look around for it. If a close family member suffers through it, chances are you may be prone too. In no way, though, this factor is a guarantee. Just try to steer clear of the triggers above as much as you can if that’s the case.
Depending on the type you have; and yes, there are types, the appearance of the disease or its symptoms may differ. Most commonly, though, the symptoms of psoriasis are:
- Rash like patches of inflamed skin, often surrounded by dandruff-like, silver-coloured scales
- Flaring in the area of appearance
- An itchy spot that is dry and bleeds easily
- Discoloration and pitting in nails. Such nails often crumble and break easily
- Swollen, stiff joints. The condition is called Psoriatic Arthritis
Primarily because of their symptoms, i.e., itchy rashes on specific body parts, an untrained eye can confuse the two easily. However, eczema and psoriasis are both fundamentally different. While the former can be caused by environmental and genetic reasons, the latter is purely an autoimmune disease.
And while only your dermatologist can tell you for sure, the general difference between the two is how they react. Compared to eczema, the irritation in psoriasis is milder and is often accompanied by a burning sensation in the body. On the other hand, the itch in eczema is quite intense and can make you scratch the area to bleed.
As mentioned, psoriasis cannot be cured but only managed. And while you must visit your dermatologist if you suspect you are suffering from the skin condition, you must also be aware of what its management entails.
Managing psoriasis has primarily two parts; reducing excessive skin growth, and making the itch, burning, and other such symptoms stop. For these, a range of treatments, including but not limited to, topical ointments, phototherapy, and, in some instances, surgery, are available. Depending on where your psoriasis stands, only your dermatologist can determine which treatment would help you the best.
So, in light of all that, it is clear that there is no reason to stigmatize the condition. It is just another skin disease, doesn’t spread from person to person, and can be treated and managed to a great extent. If you, too, are suffering from psoriasis, more power to you. With effective management, there is no way you cannot live life as usual.
And if you do not feel comfortable going to a hospital for your condition, remember, Annie’s Place offers professional health services at home. Just give us a call and get help in your comfort.