Per the World Health Organization (WHO), there are, at least, 100 million psoriasis sufferers globally. Living with psoriasis is tough. There are many different types of psoriasis, with varying degrees of severity, but it is certain that all of them, in some way, impact the life of the person with the condition. It is, also, more than just a skin condition; it is an autoimmune disease which greatly impacts all kinds of proceedings inside your autoimmune system. Here’s an informative video on some of the more biological elements of the condition.
Whether it be a person with plaque psoriasis – having to spend countless amounts of time every week applying all kinds of ill-smelling cream, or a person with psoriatic arthritis, whose mobility can be made painfully unbearable, particularly during the colder seasons. What we have done here, through some personal experiences, is compile a collection of three things all psoriasis sufferers have heard at some point – with some extra information added to the end. Let’s begin.
“Your Face is So Red!”
For those like myself who are permanently incapable of being able to rid themselves of psoriasis from their face, you will understand this one. On a near-daily basis, whether at work or outside, there is someone who questions the tomato-ish tinge of my face. Many question blood pressure (it has been checked and it is fine), tiredness or, a favorite, allergic reaction. Now, it must be understood that most of the people questioning are merely being kind; ensuring that everything is okay and we are not going to pass out from some otherworldly infection the world knows nothing about. However, it does get repetitive and as a high school teacher, some comments from inquisitive learners can be deemed as being quite mean. Ultimately, though, it is best not to take the questions personally; responding with an explanation of “I have psoriasis” and what it entails is usually enough to deter further questioning. Though the experience can be embarrassing, building up confidence to talk to those inquiring can prove to be something which builds self-assurance.
“You’ve Got a Dandruff Problem”
By far the most irritating, that we can probably all agree on. Accusations of dandruff can feel like a personal assault on your own hygienic routines and can make you feel quite low. Many of us will have experienced this throughout our schooling experience, in the workplace, on a date (just me?) and maybe outside. Here’s the thing: it is not dandruff. Yes, the flakes of skin which can often get caught in the hair look like dandruff, but it is a more serious aspect of the condition we suffer with. It is also the most frustrating to explain to people questioning as a surprising number of people are uneducated on the topic of psoriasis and some of the effects it brings. The amounts of petroleum-smelling polytar shampoos we rub into our scalps are almost never enough, either, so it is a persistent problem.
“What’s That On Your Arms?”
Many of us will have experience with psoriasis on our arms, certainly those of us with plaque psoriasis. The scaly, red marks of pain nearly always draw attention, certainly in-between medications, when they are at their worst. People often question whether they are bites, stings, eczema (which is pretty close) and, my personal favorite from my six year-old nephew, “a curse from a witch”. Ultimately, though, it is the most common effect of psoriasis; the itchy, sometimes painful scales which can be difficult to rid ourselves of – certainly during periods of stress, when psoriasis is rife. Turning to a more vegetarian based diet; getting more Vitamin D from the sun; involving calming practices – such as meditation – and applying medically prescribed cream twice a day are all deemed as healthy methods which can prove helpful.
More education is needed on the topic of psoriasis. Per NCBI, psoriasis has “a significant, negative impact on patients’ health related quality of life (HRQoL). In a survey by the National Psoriasis Foundation, almost 75% of patients believed that psoriasis had moderate to large negative impact on their quality of life (QoL), with alterations in their daily activities.” Another report by NCBI claims that sufferers with psoriasis are far more likely to contemplate, attempt and complete suicide than those without the condition.
Psoriasis is a very difficult condition to live with – one which greatly reduces the quality of life of those with the condition, certainly in severe cases. WebMD acknowledges psoriasis as a condition with strong links to depression and mental illness, as it can lead to sufferers feeling isolated, outcast and alone. Some of the comments from those without an understanding of the condition can often make the subject feel lowly; different and far from normal. With better education on the subject of psoriasis, more can come to appreciate the difficulties of living with the condition, whilst those with it can learn to love and appreciate themselves, as we all should.
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