Psoriasis Awareness Month

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national psoriasis awareness month

 

Every time you turn on the television, there is a commercial for a psoriasis/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 that is characterized by inflammation caused by dysfunction of the immune system. This causes the body to become inflamed, which 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 be overactive, which increases skin cell growth. In those without psoriasis, skin cells grow and shed in a month’s time. Those with psoriasis 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 can also have psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis causes swelling, stiffness and joint pain. The inflammation associated with psoriasis can also 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 seems to cause flare-ups of the condition.

 

Because psoriasis is a misunderstood disease for many, it is important to raise awareness about psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis during the month of August. Psoriasis Awareness Month strives to give 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 and perhaps your own experience with the condition on social media, 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, a personalized and non-personalized awareness ribbon pin version. 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, a red and flaky skin condition, people often see this rash and assume that it is contagious or infectious. This can lead to others staying away from those who have the condition. 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 understand that this is not only a skin rash, but a chronic and systemic condition that affects the immune system. In addition, because there are so many new and effective treatments now, including biologics, those who learn about this chronic condition can help direct sufferers to get them 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 for those who have it, and highlight how this condition is not only skin-related, but also a systemic, chronic condition that affects the entire immune system.

 

Recently, celebrities such as Cindi Lauper have appeared on commercials to promote Cosentyx and other immune-altering drugs that specifically target this disease. Kim Kardashian has spoken about her struggle with it. So, too, has golfer Phil Mickelson who suffers from psoriatic arthritis. Those who struggle with this condition are now getting the help they need to deal with flare-ups and the initial onset of skin outbreaks, joint pain, and the emotional and other physical difficulties they experience. Celebrities are speaking out and making this condition known on a more intimate level. They have put a face on this disease, which makes it more relatable and much less foreign to others.

 

Support a loved-one, friend, or co-worker to recognize their struggle and offer support. Every bit of information that is available is one step closer to reducing misunderstanding and fear of this often poorly-understood disease. Drug companies have made tremendous strides in the recent past, and now is the time to speak up and speak out about the condition, especially during Psoriasis Awareness Month in August.

 

Resources:

For more information about psoriasis, contact the National Psoriasis Foundation at www.psoriasis.org.