What I Wish Everyone Knew About Psoriatic Arthritis and Psoriasis
Psoriasis is not contagious, unlike other persistent skin conditions such as shingles, herpes, or impetigo. It is a genetic condition that cannot be transmitted from person to person by touching or contact. In the past, psoriasis was mistaken for leprosy, leading to isolation for those who had it. However, initiatives like shaking hands with members of Congress were carried out to raise awareness about psoriasis not being contagious, similar to Princess Diana's campaign for AIDS patients.
The word psoriasis comes from the Greek word PSOR, meaning itch. The plaques that appear on the body in psoriasis are extremely itchy and worsen when scratched. Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are immune-mediated diseases that go beyond the skin. Inflammation can affect various parts of the body, including the joints, eyes, and sinuses. If left untreated, the skin plaques can cover a significant portion of the body, and the buildup of skin cells leads to silver scales and flaking.
Children with psoriasis often have visible plaques on their face, arms, or legs, making them vulnerable to bullying or shaming from their peers. They may be teased or shunned by others, which can have severe psychosocial consequences, including isolation, loneliness, depression, and in rare cases, even suicide. It is crucial for society to refrain from commenting on someone's physical features that they cannot easily change, as words can be incredibly hurtful, especially for children.
Psoriasis can also have a significant impact on mental health, as individuals may feel the need to cover up due to fear of judgment and offensive comments. This often leads to feelings of isolation, loneliness, and depression, and some may require the assistance of a mental health professional to cope.
People with psoriasis may also have other concurrent conditions such as psoriatic arthritis, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, or metabolic disease. These conditions may require specific medications and specialized treatment from different healthcare professionals.
Genetics play a role in psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. If both parents have psoriasis, there is a high likelihood that their child will develop it as well. However, it is also possible for a child with only one parent having psoriasis to develop the condition. Regular monitoring and observation by parents and physicians are essential to detect any visible signs of psoriasis in children.
While there have been advancements in medications for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, no single drug works for everyone, and no drug provides a permanent cure. However, some state-of-the-art drugs have shown promise in inducing remission in certain patients.
It is important for individuals with psoriatic arthritis to connect with others who have the same condition for support. Joining support groups, such as the Facebook Support Group, can provide a sense of community and understanding.