It’s Not Contagious, It’s Psoriasis

You may have seen it on a friend, or a stranger, or even on yourself – the thickened, red, silvery lesions shown in the photo above.  At first glance it’s easy to confuse this common skin condition with a contagious rash, however that is far from the case.  It’s not a rash and it’s not contagious. It’s called psoriasis.According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, over 7.5 million Americans are affected by psoriasis.  An autoimmune disease, psoriasis can range from mild to severe given how much of the body is affected.  Mild plaque psoriasis, where less than 3% of the body is affected by lesions, is the most common form.  Moderate psoriasis falls into the range of 3%-10% with those who have more than 10% of their body covered with psoriasis are categorized as severe.  (Here is a great map to help give you an idea of the percentages!)  These categories help dictate the level of treatment required.Psoriasis lesions are most often found on the elbows, knees, abdomen, lower back and legs.  A specific painful itch is also associated with the condition.  Different from a rash itch, psoriasis patients have described it as a slight burning, biting sensation.  And while the lesions and itching are enough on their own, psoriasis can have a great impact on a person’s quality of life as well.

psoriasisA heightened sense of self-consciousness, higher likelihoods of depression, the urge to cover up affected areas with clothing and refraining from going to work our out in the public eye during flare-ups are common concerns we hear from psoriasis patients.  When it comes to the general public, very little is known about the condition which can lead to many misconceptions by those not affected by it.

Stress, you may have guessed, is a common trigger for psoriasis flare-ups.  Anxiety and worry about basic social interactions can be heightened with psoriasis.  Dating, joining a new community group, going to work, eating at a restaurant – all can become a minefield when a person is experiencing a psoriasis flare-up. This makes stress-management a very important life skill for those with psoriasis.  So as you can see, it’s a skin condition that goes way beyond the just the skin.

Contrary to how it may seem, psoriasis isn’t a condition to shy away from or let it control your life.  Treatment is available for all forms, from mild to severe, and all it takes to get started is scheduling an appointment.  Don’t let  a skin condition keep you or your loved ones from living the life (or wearing the clothes) you desire.  Help is always just a phone call or email away!

*We routinely perform clinical research in the area of psoriasis.  If you are interested in learning more about our active trials, please contact our clinical research coordinator to learn more. 

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