Social media or posters on lamp poles promising a miracle potion to clear and cure psoriasis give people false hope, especially as many people think psoriasis is “only a skin condition”.
The truth is, there is more to psoriasis than red patches, thick, silvery scales, and bleeding cracked skin.1
Psoriasis is #MoreThanSkinDeep
Psoriasis is a chronic, autoimmune condition where the immune system no longer protects the body but fights against it.1,2 When this happens, the skin regenerates at an accelerated rate causing severe inflammation, and the symptoms above.1
The condition can become so severe it can cause constant pain, inflamed, swollen and stiff joints,1 and can make it extremely difficult to do simple daily tasks such as driving a car, or holding a beverage.
What’s worse is that psoriasis can affect other systems in the body, and people with the condition have a higher risk of developing additional conditions such as1,2
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Liver conditions
- Kidney disease
- Mental health issues.
“Psoriasis is not just a skin condition. Although it’s more prevalent on the skin, it can cause severe disease throughout the body,” said Dr Tshepo Mokwena, Gauteng-based dermatologist. “What’s more, people with psoriasis often suffer from increased anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. They become asocial and don’t exercise as much, which can lead to diabetes, obesity, or high blood pressure, and can make their depression and anxiety worse,” Mokwena said.
Clear skin with effective treatment is possible
Although psoriasis is a chronic condition with no cure, the correct treatment can help manage the symptoms.2 And dermatologists consider all factors when determining an effective course of treatment to ensure psoriasis and the comorbidities won’t worsen.2
“Psoriasis treatment isn’t one-size-fits-all. People should seek help from a professional,” said Mokwena. “Treatment makes a big difference and can be life-changing if the psoriasis is diagnosed and treated early,” Mokwena added.
Dermatologists will prescribe treatment based on the severity, which can range from mild to severe.3 Treatment can be a combination of medications, creams, and light treatment. There are also newer medical advancements, such as biologics, that target specific parts of the immune system and can help patients achieve clear skin.2,3
People with psoriasis deserve access to the right treatment that will help them manage their symptoms and achieve clear skin. If you think you or a loved one may have psoriasis, talk to a dermatologist as soon as possible. If you live far away from a practicing dermatologist, you can arrange an online consultation. You can also join the #MoreThanSkinDeep Facebook Community, a free resource rich with information on psoriasis which offers valuable insights to support people living with the condition.