Understanding Psoriasis Is the Path to Acceptance

Autoimmune, non-transmissible and incurable: This skin disease also affects self-esteem.

Psoriasis is an inflammatory and autoimmune disease that affects various parts of the skin.

It is chronic, and without a cure, it has treatment and, it is not contagious.

The disease is unknown to the majority of the population, and those who suffer from it still suffer from prejudice and discrimination.

There are several levels of the disease. In cases of moderate psoriasis, there may be only discomfort due to the symptoms.

But in more severe cases, it can be painful and cause changes that significantly impact the patient’s quality of life and self-esteem.

The SDB reports that the lesions appear mainly before the age of 30 and after the age of 50, but in 15% of the cases, it can appear even in childhood.

Thus, the ideal is to seek dermatological treatment as soon as possible.

Psoriasis Visible Symptoms

There is no conclusive diagnosis about the origin of psoriasis.

Besides genetics, other factors are involved in the onset and progression of the disease.

Psychological factors like stress, exposure to cold, use of certain medications, and alcoholic beverages worsen the condition.

Symptoms

  • Red Spots with scales, white or silver scales
  • Small white or dark spots, specially after lesions in the skin
  • Dry and cracked skin, sometimes with bleeding associated
  • Itching, burn sensation, pain
  • Thick nails, with punctiform lesions
  • Swollen and stiff joints

Risk Factors

  • Family history
  • Stress
  • Obesity
  • Cold weather
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Tobacco

Types of psoriasis

There are eight types of psoriasis that can cause mild or even very severe lesions.

Plaque or Vulgar Psoriasis: forms dry, reddish plaques with silver or whitish scales. These plaques itch and may hurt, sometimes all over the body, including genitals.

Ungual Psoriasis: It affects the fingernails and toenails. It causes the nail to grow abnormally, thicken, flake, change color, and even deform.

Scalp Psoriasis: reddish lesions with thick white or silver scales appear, especially after scratching. It resembles dandruff.

Guttate Psoriasis: It is usually triggered by bacterial infections. It is characterized by small, drop-shaped sores on the trunk, arms, legs, and scalp. The sores are covered by a thin scale.

Inverse Psoriasis: it affects mainly humid areas, such as armpits, groin, under the breasts, and around the genitals. They are red, inflamed spots.

Pustular Psoriasis: patches, blisters, or pustules (small blisters that appear to contain pus) can occur on all parts of the body or on smaller areas such as hands, feet, or fingers.

Generalized pustular psoriasis can cause fever, chills, intense itching, and fatigue.

Erythrodermic Psoriasis: This is the least common type. In this case, red patches start to appear all over the body that can itch or burn intensely, leading to systemic manifestations.

It can be triggered by severe burns, infections, or another type of poorly controlled psoriasis.

Arthropathic Psoriasis: In addition to skin inflammation and flaking, psoriatic arthritis, as it is also known, causes severe joint pain.

It most commonly affects the joints of the fingers and toes, the spine, and the hip joints, and can cause progressive stiffness and even permanent deformities.

How to Face Psoriasis Prejudice

In severe cases, people living with psoriasis have to learn to live with prejudice.

Brazilian Psoriasis Association has gathered data from surveys and polls conducted with more than 2,000 voluntary patients who revealed that they are victims of constant prejudice and discrimination.

These are the cases of advertising student Leonardo Sarmento de Castro, 20, and self-employed Rosi Muller Schvuchov, 46.

Both discovered the disease early on and underwent several treatments. Their experiences with prejudice are different, but living with psoriasis is a challenge for both of them.

Leonardo first developed lesions at the age of four. They first appeared on his elbows, and after a few years, they spread to other parts of his body, requiring the use of corticoids, a class of anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive drugs.

 "During my childhood, I treated myself only with topical corticoids (creams and lotions) because I couldn't take any medication. 

As a teenager, I was treated with oral and injectable corticosteroids. 

Recently I was treated with immunosuppressants and, at the moment, I am undergoing phototherapy twice a week", he explains. 

The student adds that psoriasis responds very well to the sun. Therefore, short periods, at certain times, are good for his skin.

On top of all this, psoriasis requires constant care with skin hydration.

"I've always had to carry a manipulated cream in my purse. I try to drink plenty of water and avoid anything that makes my skin drier," she comments.

For Rosi, the discovery of the disease came later. When she was 20 the first symptoms started to appear.

The late diagnosis was due to medical errors that treated psoriasis only as an allergy, something common to happen.

"When I started the treatment I used several types of creams, shampoos, and medicines.Of course, all of them with corticoids, which is the best when I have flares", he comments.

How to Deal With Strangers Looking at You

As it is a disease that generates visible lesions, learning to live with people’s judgment is one of the processes in the treatment of psoriasis.

Leonardo had to adapt to the disease and, at the same time, to the mean comments, especially in childhood.

 "Unfortunately people have a lot of prejudice.
For lack of information, many people don't know what it is and think it is something disgusting or even contagious," he says. 

For the future advertising executive, being a child does not get you out of this, on the contrary, it is even worse:

"When you have this problem like I did, you face comments from adults and children who not only criticize you, but also use that to bully you. It is quite difficult. I remember that some little friends avoided holding my hand because they were afraid of contracting something," he recalls.
Understanding Psoriasis Is the Path to Acceptance
Despite suffering from the symptoms of psoriasis, Leonardo recognizes that he is at the peak of his beauty (Credit: Archive/Leonardo Castro)

Leonardo says that after 16 years of having to live with psoriasis, he no longer questions why it happened to him, nor does he want perfect skin.

However, knowing that Psoriasis will never cure and deal with the comments is still the worst part. “Besides having to treat every little spot that appears and trying to stop the itching and burning in various parts of my body, I still have to answer questions, often rude ones, about my skin all the time.

Nothing irritates me more than someone looking at my hand and guessing a diagnosis and a treatment as if I don’t know what I have and how to treat it,” she admits.

For Rosi, on the other hand, it is easier to deal with, because her psoriasis is of the scalp type and is not easily seen. “To live with the disease, the first step is to accept that it is autoimmune and only has treatment and no cure but to understand this goes a long way.

It is something that bothers me a lot and makes me very angry, because of the itching and pain that takes a long time to go away,” she explains.

What Lies in the Future for Psoriasis Patients

Technological advances are providing excellent assistance to medicine. So in order to help patients and doctors to manage psoriasis, there are already apps that can help you guide through your Psoriasis journey.

Maybe one day, scientists will discover a cure, but until then, it is crucial to maintain a great quality of life and always follow the best practices to guarantee better health for your skin.