August is National Psoriasis Awareness Month. Every time you turn on the television, there is a commercial for a psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis drug. It seems that recently, the market has boomed with one immune-regulating drug after another. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, approximately three percent of the United States adult population, or 7.5 million United States adults, suffer from psoriasis.
What Exactly is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a disease with an unclear cause. It is characterized by inflammation caused by dysfunction of the immune system. Dysfunction of the immune system causes the body to become inflamed. This inflammation can actually be seen on the skin in the form of raised psoriasis plaques. The plaques have a scaly appearance, although they may look different on different skin types.
Psoriasis causes the immune system to overact, which increases skin cell growth. In those without psoriasis, skin cells grow and shed in a month’s time. In people with psoriasis, sufferers shed their skin cell in only three to four days. The skin cells pile up on the surface of the skin, and psoriasis plaques form. These plaques can itch, burn or sting and are often found on the elbows, knees and scalp.
Along with this skin issue, sufferers also may have psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis causes swelling, stiffness and joint pain. In addition, the inflammation associated with psoriasis may impact other organs and tissues throughout the body. Symptoms often start when a person is between fifteen and twenty-five. But, psoriasis can start at any age. Stress often causes flare-ups of the condition.
Because many misunderstand psoriasis, raise awareness about psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis each year. Psoriasis Awareness Month, during the month of August, is a perfect time to do so. Psoriasis Awareness Month sponsors strive to provide accurate information about this condition, alleviating fears that this is a contagious disease that can be “caught” from another person.
How to Raise Awareness for Psoriasis
During Psoriasis Awareness Month in August, there are a multitude of ways to get involved. Some examples are to post about psoriasis. Another is, perhaps, to post about your own experience with the condition on social media. An additional way is to share educational resources, and even give a donation to psoriasis organizations.
Another way to raise awareness of psoriasis is by wearing an orange and lavender pin. Personalized Cause offers two types of lavender and orange awareness ribbon pins for psoriasis awareness. One is a personalized awareness ribbon pin and one is a non-personalized awareness ribbon pin. Personalized pins can be engraved with a name, date or message to make a statement to others about this disease. One example of engraving may be “Know About Psoriasis” to improve knowledge and information about treatments for this condition.
Because of the misconceptions and misinformation related to psoriasis, people often see this rash and assume that it is contagious or infectious. This sometimes leads to isolation. Those who suffer with it may feel uncomfortable around others because they see people looking at their skin and feel the need to explain it. Or, cover it up. Expanding awareness so that everyone understands what psoriasis is and is not helps others know that this is not only a skin rash. Psoirasis is a chronic and systemic condition that affects the immune system. Because there are currently so many new and effective treatments available, including biologics, those who understand this chronic condition can direct sufferers to get the treatment they need.
Psoriasis Awareness Support
During August’s Psoriasis Awareness Month, wear an awareness ribbon pin the entire month to shed light on this condition. Do it for those who suffer and highlight how this condition is not only skin-related, but also a systemic, chronic condition that affects the entire immune system.
Recently, Cindi Lauper appeared on commercials to promote Cosentyx. Other commercials feature immune-altering drugs that specifically target this disease. Kim Kardashian speaks about her struggle with it. So, too, does golfer Phil Mickelson who suffers from psoriatic arthritis. This publicity actively calls attention to those in the public who have coped with this disease while remaining in the public eye. It is also raising awareness and helping those who struggle with this condition get the help they need. Symptoms include flare-ups and the initial onset of skin outbreaks, joint pain, and emotional and other physical difficulties that were previously misunderstood or never discussed. Celebrities are speaking out and making this condition known on a more intimate level. Many have put a face on psoriasis, which makes it more relatable and much less foreign to others.
Support a loved-one, friend, or co-worker. Recognize their struggle and offer support. Every bit of available information is one step closer to reducing misunderstanding and fear of this often poorly-understood disease. Drug companies are making tremendous strides in controlling flare-ups and plaques, and now is the time to speak up and speak out about the condition. This is especially true during Psoriasis Awareness Month in August.
Purchase an awareness ribbon pin and stand with those who suffer from psoriasis. Those who suffer will appreciate your compassion.An awareness ribbon says a lot without saying a word. Add one to your t-shirt, cap or yoga mat today,
For more information about psoriasis, contact the National Psoriasis Foundation at www.psoriasis.org.