Skin conditions are a unique type of medical illness because their symptoms are so visible, which means it’s more difficult for patients to maintain privacy about their condition. Unfortunately, this can lead to self-consciousness, bullying, and social discrimination, especially for a disease which is as misunderstood as psoriasis. To help patients, families, and the general public have a better understanding of what it means to have psoriasis, we’re addressing some of the most common myths around the rumor mill.
Myth: There’s no treatment for psoriasis.
Fact: Psoriasis is a chronic condition, and while there is no cure for the disease, there are a number of potential treatments which can manage the symptoms and, in many cases, minimize the severity of the illness. For many patients, newly available therapies including topical medications, phototherapy, and oral and injectable medicines can be life-changing. It’s important to seek treatment from one of our board-certified dermatologists at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta (DAA) to discuss the options.
Myth: Psoriasis is a rare disorder.
Fact: The condition is actually rather common, affecting as many as 7.5 million people in the US alone. In fact, because some patients’ symptoms may be limited to easy-to-conceal areas, you may know someone with psoriasis without even realizing it.
Myth: Psoriasis is a skin disease.
Fact: Psoriasis is actually an immune disease, and while the most obvious symptoms are patches of red, scaly, shedding skin, the condition also affects your other body systems and can make you more susceptible to diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, psoriatic arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and other illnesses.
Myth: Psoriasis is contagious.
Fact: This is perhaps the most common myth about psoriasis, and the one that tends to cause the most stress and isolation for patients. Psoriasis will not spread from one person to another through any form of contact, so no degree of protective measures are needed while you’re interacting with someone who has the condition.
Myth: If you had psoriasis, you’d know it.
Fact: Symptoms of psoriasis can often look like other skin conditions, like eczema or ringworm. It may also present as dandruff. For any unidentified rash, it’s important to schedule an appointment at DAA, where we’ve established a dedicated Psoriasis Treatment Center and have been working with psoriasis patients for nearly forty years, so you can receive an accurate diagnosis and the most effective short-term and/or long-term treatment.
Myth: Psoriasis is something you’re born with.
Fact: While there is a clear genetic link to psoriasis, only around 2-3% of those who are estimated to have the gene actually develop the condition. The direct cause of psoriasis is still being studied, but it appears to be a combination of heredity, patient-specific triggers, and your individual immune system.
Psoriasis can be a challenging condition to live with, both physically and emotionally, and patients’ struggles are often made worse by misinformation like the myths above. Whether you have psoriasis, are close to someone who does, or simply want to have a better understanding of the condition to avoid being insensitive to those with psoriasis whom you may meet in the future, sticking to accurate information can make life easier for everyone involved. To learn more about other general and cosmetic dermatology topics, or to be the first to hear about our future special offers and events, follow DAA on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.