Psoriasis

I found out I have Psoriasis when I was a senior in High School when I started to notice flaky and bloody patches on my scalp. Sounds gross I know but it was horrible. Over night it got worse, I started to get them all over my ears, all over my head, on my hands, in between my fingers and recently it spread to my chest.  It used to be really, really bad where I would stay up and itch away the patches and even try to remove them and pull my hair out because I couldn’t take the pain and itchiness and I literally wanted to cut my ears and fingers off. It’s gotten better but it’s always coming, staying and going. When it comes it comes really bad, when it stays it’s tolerable and when it goes it feels amazing!

It makes me insecure and upset. I am very self-conscious about it. I’m constantly aware of it because it bothers me, it’s noticeable and I am always wondering what the person thinks when they see it. I get itchy and when it bleeds it irritates me.  I went through so many medications for it till I finally found one that works. It’s a medicated lotion that I apply on the patches that I can reach and all over my ears and I put it at night and when I wake up it doesn’t show and that lasts only a full day till I have to do it again. But I constantly have to put the medication and sometimes I don’t have the patience to do it! I don’t do well with medicine. I always forget whether they are antibiotics, pills for my thyroid that I have to take every morning or the medicine for Psoriasis. Maybe that’s why my immune system is the way it is, I need to take better care of myself!

I would give up anything if I can to get rid of this disease. It really does mess with you and eats you up. Not only does it make you insecure and self-conscious its embarrassing and painful.

Every Doctor I went to told me the same thing: It’s controllable, not curable!

What is Psoriasis? Psoriasis is a common skin disease that affects the life cycle of skin cells. Psoriasis causes cells to build up rapidly on the surface of the skin, forming thick silvery scales and itchy, dry, red patches that are sometimes painful. Psoriasis is a persistent, long-lasting (chronic) disease. You may have periods when your psoriasis symptoms improve or go into remission alternating with times your psoriasis worsens. For some people, psoriasis is just a nuisance. For others, it’s disabling, especially when associated with arthritis. There’s no cure, but psoriasis treatments may offer significant relief. Lifestyle measures, such as using a nonprescription cortisone cream and exposing your skin to small amounts of natural sunlight, can improve your psoriasis symptoms.

It is chronic immune-mediated disease that appears on the skin. It occurs when the immune system sends out faulty signals that speed up the growth cycle of skin cells. Psoriasis is not contagious. There are five types of psoriasis: plaque, guttate, inverse, pustular and erythrodermic. The most common form, plaque psoriasis, is commonly seen as red and white hues of scaly patches appearing on the top first layer of the epidermis (skin). In plaque psoriasis, skin rapidly accumulates at these sites, which gives it a silvery-white appearance. Plaques frequently occur on the skin of the elbows and knees, but can affect any area, including the scalp, palms of hands and soles of feet, and genitals. In contrast to eczema, psoriasis is more likely to be found on the outer side of the joint. The disorder is a chronic recurring condition that varies in severity from minor localized patches to complete body coverage. Fingernails and toenails are frequently affected (psoriatic nail dystrophy) and can be seen as an isolated symptom. Psoriasis can also cause inflammation of the joints, which is known as psoriatic arthritis. Between 10% and 40% of all people with psoriasis have psoriatic arthritis.

The cause of psoriasis is not fully understood, but it is believed to have a genetic component and local psoriatic changes can be triggered by an injury to the skin known as the Koebner phenomenon, see Koebnerisin. Various environmental factors have been suggested as aggravating to psoriasis, including stress, withdrawal of systemic corticosteroid, as well as other environmental factors, but few have shown statistical significance.[4] There are many treatments available, but because of its chronic recurrent nature, psoriasis is a challenge to treat.

Severe cases of psoriasis has been shown to affect health-related quality of life to an extent similar to the effects of other chronic diseases, such as depression, hypertension, congestive heart failure or type 2 diabetes.[11] Depending on the severity and location of outbreaks, individuals may experience significant physical discomfort and some disability. Itching and pain can interfere with basic functions, such as self-care, walking, and sleep. Plaques on hands and feet can prevent individuals from working at certain occupations, playing some sports, and caring for family members or a home. Plaques on the scalp can be particularly embarrassing, as flaky plaque in the hair can be mistaken for dandruff. Medical care can be costly and time-consuming, and can interfere with an employment or school schedule.Individuals with psoriasis may also feel self-conscious about their appearance and have a poor self-image that stems from fear of public rejection and psychosexual concerns.[citation needed] Psychological distress can lead to significant depression and social isolation.

In a 2008 National Psoriasis Foundation survey of 426 psoriasis sufferers, 71 percent reported the disease was a significant problem in everyday life. More than half reported significant feelings of self-consciousness (63 percent) and embarrassment (58 percent). More than one-third said they avoided social activities and limited dating or intimate interactions.[12]

The cause of psoriasis is not fully understood. There are two main hypotheses about the process that occurs in the development of the disease. The first considers psoriasis as primarily a disorder of excessive growth and reproduction of skin cells. The problem is simply seen as a fault of the epidermis and its keratinocytes. The second hypothesis sees the disease as being an immune-mediated disorder in which the excessive reproduction of skin cells is secondary to factors produced by the immune system. T cells (which normally help protect the body against infection) become active, migrate to the dermis and trigger the release of cytokines (tumor necrosis factor-alpha TNFα, in particular) which cause inflammation and the rapid production of skin cells. It is not known what initiates the activation of the T cells.

Psoriasis is a fairly idiosyncratic disease. The majority of people’s experience of psoriasis is one in which it may worsen or improve for no apparent reason. Studies of the factors associated with psoriasis tend to be based on small (usually hospital based) samples of individuals. These studies tend to suffer from representative issues, and an inability to tease out causal associations in the face of other (possibly unknown) intervening factors. Conflicting findings are often reported. Nevertheless, the first outbreak is sometimes reported following stress (physical and mental), skin injury, and streptococcal infection. Conditions that have been reported as accompanying a worsening of the disease include infections, stress, and changes in season and climate. Certain medicines, including lithium salt, beta blockers and the antimalarial drug chloroquine have been reported to trigger or aggravate the disease. Excessive alcohol consumption, smoking and obesity may exacerbate psoriasis or make the management of the condition difficult or perhaps these comorbidities are effects rather than causes. Hairspray, some face creams and hand lotions, can also cause an outbreak of psoriasis In 1975, Stefania Jablonska and collaborators advanced a new theory that special antibodies tend to break through into the lower layers of the skin and set up a complex series of chemical reactions.[

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