Psoriasis, a disease that many doctors and patients once thought to be a simple skin disease, has been researched and found to be more than skin deep.1 In fact, the disease is so severe that it impacts the mental and physical wellbeing of a patient, at times leading to suicide.2 Some of the symptoms prevent people from doing normal things such as wearing clothes that show their skin and carrying their kids.
Early signs of psoriasis
Before you can treat psoriasis, it’s important to recognise the signs. Here are five early symptoms,3
- Rashes or patches of red, inflamed skin, covered in loose silvery plaques. In severe instances, the plaques grow and merge into each other and cover larger areas of the body.
- Itchy, painful skin that may crack and bleed when scratched.
- Pitting or discolouring of the fingernails and toenails. The nails may begin to crumble or detach from the nailbed.
- Scaly plaques of silvery skin on the scalp.
- Achy or swollen joints may occur as a result of psoriatic arthritis, which is a related condition that affects psoriasis sufferers.
“There is help out there, and you can change the course of the disease,” said Dr Ugeshnie Naidoo, a renowned specialist dermatologist based in Pretoria. “The sooner you treat psoriasis, and the more effectively you treat it, means you can prevent long-term problems and comorbidities.”
If left untreated, psoriasis could flare up and result in further health complications such as,4
One of the more common comorbidities, affecting 30 to 33% of people living with psoriasis, is psoriatic arthritis. This causes swelling, pain and stiffness in the joints when left untreated.
Also known as heart disease, this progression of psoriasis may result in heart attacks, strokes, heart failure and heart valve problems.
Due to increased blood pressure caused by psoriasis, people may experience excess body fat and abnormal cholesterol levels, both of which could lead to strokes or type 2 diabetes.
Mental health disorders4
Due to the debilitating nature of psoriasis symptoms, many people experience mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, stress and, in severe cases, suicidal ideation.2 The impact of mental health disorders could result in constant sadness, impacting a person’s ability to live a happy, normal life.
How to treat psoriasis
Seek immediate assistance from your doctor, who will be able to assess the severity of your psoriasis and place you on a treatment plan. After years of research, pharmaceutical companies have developed a biologic treatment that reduces the severity of symptoms and can achieve clear skin.
“With the introduction of a breakthrough biologic treatment, you can change the course of your life, and enjoy clear skin”, added Dr Naidoo.
People living with this devastating condition deserve access to effective treatment. If you’re living with psoriasis, talk to your dermatologist ASAP and ask them to help you get treatment that will achieve clear skin.
Psoriasis is a lifelong condition, but it can be managed. Visit the #MoreThanSkinDeep Facebook page to learn more about psoriasis and how you can show your support to those living with this condition.