Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that causes red or silvery scaly patches on the skin, which can be itchy and painful. It is a genetic autoimmune disorder, meaning that a combination of certain genes trigger the immune system into overdrive, which results to harm instead of protecting the body. Normally, it takes around 28 days for the body to produce new skin cells and shed the old one. However, with psoriasis, skin cells are produced faster, in just 3 to 4 days, making it difficult for the body to shed the skin cells at that rate. The result is having old, dead skin cells build up on the surface, thus forming the thick, flaky patches.
What is the exact cause of psoriasis?
The first challenge of psoriasis is that the exact cause remains unknown. Although researchers speculate that genetics is the underlying cause, the exact gene combinations that manifest the condition after being exposed to a trigger remains unknown. The common triggers identified by specialists include stress, certain medications, smoking, heavy drinking, vitamin D deficiency, severe sunburn and some infections such as strep throat. Other factors that increase your risk of psoriasis include family history, obesity, and viral and bacterial infections.
Is psoriasis contagious?
Although unsightly, research has it that psoriasis lesions cannot infect other people nor can someone catch it from an affected person, as it is genetic. Therefore, it is still possible for people with psoriasis to interact
with healthy people without fear for spreading it.
While psoriasis may not be completely cured, with the right type of medications and lifestyle, it is possible to manage its symptoms. There is no particular treatment that will work for all, as such, it may take a while to find the suitable treatment, and thus patience and persistence is required. The problem is that some people often give up and this could worsen their symptoms. With proper management, the symptoms can be completely done away with, allowing you to fully enjoy life. Some commonly prescribed treatments for psoriasis include topical drugs, phototherapy, biologic and systematic medications.
Nonetheless, financial constraints may hinder successful management of the condition. Long-term commitment is required before realizing results from most medication, and this can be darining and discouraging. There is also the risk of investing in a treatment method only for it to fail.
Living with psoriasis
Since there is no cure for psoriasis, once diagnosed with the condition you have to learn how to love with it. The condition poses many challenges physically, emotionally and even socially. There is the pain that comes with the disease, which could interfere with normal functions such as sleep and work. Most people with the condition also tend to be very self-conscious, as they feel unattractive. They may withdraw from social situations, which further put them at risk of developing depression and suicidal thoughts. The problems do not end there; people with psoriasis are also at great risk of developing other health conditions that may include psoriatic arthritis, eye problems, obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, high blood pressure and other autoimmune disorders.